updated 11/2/2007 8:01:01 AM ET 2007-11-02T12:01:01

Viacom Inc., the media conglomerate controlled by Sumner Redstone, reported an 80 percent jump in third-quarter earnings Friday, boosted by the sale of a music publishing business and box office receipts from its movie “Transformers.”

Viacom, which owns MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, earned $641.6 million, or 96 cents per share, in the three months ending in September, up from $356.8 million, or 50 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The latest results included a $192 million gain from the sale of Famous Music, a music publishing business.

Excluding that and other one-time items including a $3 million restructuring charge in the latest quarter and compensation charges of $62 million in the year-ago period following the departure of Tom Freston as CEO, adjusted operating income rose 14 percent to $818 million, or 65 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 59 cents per share. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenues rose 24 percent to $3.27 billion from $2.63 billion a year ago and ahead of analysts’ estimates of $2.99 billion.

Viacom’s filmed entertainment division swung to a profit of $71.7 million in the latest period from a loss of $7.8 million a year ago as revenues jumped 57 percent.

Viacom attributed the turnaround largely to box office revenues from “Transformers,” which opened in July and recently was released on DVD, as well as a 39 percent rise in home video revenues due to a greater number of titles in release versus the same period a year earlier.

Earnings from cable networks edged up 2 percent to $796.8 million. A 9 percent rise in revenues to $2 billion, were offset by a 13 percent rise in expenses, largely due to programming and compensation.

Viacom’s Redstone also controls CBS Corp.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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