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Viacom sniffs out Onion

Media conglom circles satirical news site

Viacom may be angling to buy the Onion, as Tom Freston’s company seeks to flesh out its web strategy and as the number of irreverent, independent sites grows ever smaller.

Viacom’s been eyeing everything Net since News Corp. beat it out for MySpace last year. That $650 million deal was a defining move for the Murdoch conglom.

The satirical news site — with recent headlines like “Alan Colmes’ Death Goes Unreported on ‘Hannity & Colmes’ ” — fits nicely with the Comedy Central demo. In fact, the Onion recently has featured interviews with the cable net’s Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry and John Hodgeman.

Viacom bought kids site Neopets last June for $160 million. It snapped up iFilms last October for $49 million.

As Viacom absorbs the acquisition of DreamWorks, there’s increasing attention on its next deal, Net or not. The company is said to be in the final round of bidding for BMG Music Publishing, which it could combine with its Famous Music Publishing to become a major player in that biz.

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