A Blockbuster Deal for Beavis and Butt-Head

Viacom's surprise merger reignites a major takeover battle and poses a conundrum for Wall Street

Sumner Redstone, a man who does not easily toss in his cards, was determined not to be shunted aside in the bidding war for Paramount Communications last week. As the clock ticked down toward a Friday-midnight deadline for new bids, Wall Street was wondering whether Viacom Inc.'s chairman would be able to pull a last-minute rabbit out of his hat. Unknown to most analysts and investors, a team of investment advisers and lawyers was secretly huddled at the Ritz Carlton hotel in New York City negotiating a blockbuster of a deal that would help Viacom beat the rival bid of Barry...

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