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N.Y. Times: Redstone reluctant

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc.’s chairman Sumner Redstone, with three days left to raise his bid against QVC Network Inc. in the battle for Paramount Communications Inc., is leaning against going forward, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper, quoting a person close to Viacom, said in its early Wednesday edition that Viacom still has no structure for a new bid.

No Viacom official was immediately available for comment at the company’s New York office late Tuesday.

Friday is the deadline for tendering shares under competing bids by Viacom and QVC, the home shopping cable television company, for the entertainment giant.

The unidentified person quoted by the Times said several of Viacom’s top execs have also opposed a merger because they feel it could deprive their operations of capital for expansion. Yet the paper’s source didn’t rule out the chance that Viacom might still put together a new offer.

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