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SportsLine, CBS rejigger finance pact

The sports Web site says it has amended its agreement with Viacom's CBS in order to change its payment schedule to the broadcast network.

Sports Web site SportsLine.com said Thursday that it has amended its agreement with Viacom's CBS in order to change its payment schedule to the broadcast network.

The amendment limits the number of shares SportsLine pays to Viacom next month so that the media company will not own more than 39.9 percent of the Web site. The agreement also limits Viacom's ownership of the site to 50 percent until at least Oct. 1, 2005.

The deal between the two companies requires SportsLine to issue $20 million worth of stock to CBS on April 1, 2003, July 1, 2004, Oct. 1, 2005, and Jan. 1, 2007. In return, SportsLine will receive on-air promotion on CBS and rights to use the network's brand.

In the event that SportsLine's $20 million worth of stock payments exceeds 50 percent ownership, the company may pay the outstanding amount in cash.

Viacom currently owns 31 percent of SportsLine.

SportsLine ranks below ESPN.com in terms of popularity, according to one measurement firm, but ahead of Web portal Yahoo.