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Warner Amex spins off MTV

By SYDNEY SHAW

WASHINGTON -- MTV Network Inc., the nation's first and most successful cable TV video music channel, notified the government Monday it is going public with an offering of 5.12 million shares of common stock.

Officials of the 3-year-old Music Television Network, which serves 21.8 million subscribers and 2,470 cable TV systems nationwide, said in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that proceeds from the initial stock offering will be used to repay a bank debt.

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Officials of Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment Corp., which is spinning off MTV, refused to comment on the size of the debt. They also would not say whether more stock will be issued later or if the parent company will retain voting control of the music network.

'We have made an initial filing with the SEC covering the proprietary offering of MTV Network Inc. common stock,' a Warner Amex spokesman said. 'It is inappropriate to comment on the filing because we are still in registration.'

MTV was founded in 1981 by Warner Cable Communications Inc. American Express inherited 50 percent of the network when it became partners with Warner in its cable TV interests.

Last week, MTV made industry news by striking a first-of-its-kind deal with four record companies that gives the music network exclusive rights to cablecast video recordings made by the companies in return for cash and advertising time.

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Network officials refused to disclose the identities of the four companies, but industry sources said RCA and CBS were among them.

Previously, MTV had been using the videos free of charge since they at first were made largely for promotional purposes. The network began negotiations after NBC started paying the record companies for recordings appearing on its program, 'Friday Night Videos.'

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