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Leading media and film entertainment firm Viacom Inc. (VIAB - Free Report) has decided to strengthen its foothold in Europe. Recently, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom, acquired Italian free-to-air channel LCN 49 from Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. (SNI - Free Report) . Viacom will use this channel to facilitate the launching of its Italian version of Spike TV network in October 2017.

Viacom already has a footprint in Italy. It operates Paramount Channel and VH1 FTA DTT channels in the country. Moreover, on Aug 25, Viacom entered into a 50-50 joint venture with media group De Agostini Editore for Super! which is FTA channel for children.

The company looks to become the fifth-largest TV broadcaster in Italy within a year. Last month, The Hollywood Reporter stated that VIMN plans to offer a new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) -- Paramount+ -- in Denmark, Sweden and Norway from October 2017.

Facing stiff competition and dwindling advertisement revenues, the media sector is witnessing large scale concentration. Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA - Free Report) has decided to acquire lifestyle media giant Scripps Networks in a $14.6 billion ($11.9 billion excluding debt) deal, which is expected to be closed in early 2018.

Meanwhile, the $85.4 billion mega merger deal of AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) and Time Warner Inc. (TWX - Free Report) is currently under review by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and competition authorities in other foreign countries. The deal is likely to be closed by the end of 2017.

Viacom is leaving no stone unturned to turn around its fortunes. In order to combat the challenges, Viacom unveiled a new strategic plan in February 2017. As part of the five-point plan, it is focusing on six of its core brands -- BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount. At this stage, we believe expansion of operations in Europe will bode well for the company in the future.

Price Performance of Viacom

Viacom’s shares have declined 22.83% compared with the industry’s loss of 2.53% in the last three months. The company currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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