Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Saving Viacom

Now mitt der Add Ons.

Sumner Redstone bows (grudgingly) to Father Time:

Ailing Sumner Redstone, 92, has stepped down as CBS’ executive chairman, becoming Chairman Emeritus. He either has — or soon will — do the same at Viacom, where he’s also executive chairman. ...

CBS and Viacom shareholders have questioned whether Redstone is still able to fulfill his duties as chairman of the companies, entitling him to a salary. Last month, Viacom announced Redstone’s compensation package for 2015 was slashed by 85% to $2 million from $13.2 million. ...

This story mutated into a comic opera some time ago.

Mr. Redstone has been speaking in tongues for at least a year, and perhaps longer. And investors are ... ahm ... disenchanted with paying the man $13.2 million a year to sit in a wheelchair and goggle at old Playboy magazines.

Several Viacom divisions have been struggling. Nickelodeon Cartoon Studio was knocked off its high seat several years ago when the Disney Channel overtook it in the ratings, and the cable channel stopped being #1. It hasn't yet found its way out of the wilderness.

... Wall Street has lost some enthusiasm for [Viacom] shares lately as many wonder about television’s ability to compete with digital media. CBS has lost about 15% of its value in the last 12 months while the S&P dropped 5.2%. ...

Whether Sumner Redstone's demotion changes the conglomerate's fortunes remains an open question.

Add On: From a financial journal:

CBS and Viacom shares are up on hope of a sale. The problem is, who would bid? Competitors might, but that's unlikely.

The most likely buyers are Internet and infrastructure companies.

And good luck with that. Les Moonves is the Viacom exec in ascension, but he's been in charge of CBS, a broadcast network that is taking hits along with every other broadcast network as the millenials de-couple from their parents' method of watching the teevee, and opt to goggle at their smart phones when they're sucking up entertainment.

Add On Too: And we learn the other shoe has now clunked to the floor:

As with CBS yesterday, Sumner Redstone will leave his post as executive chairman at Viacom and become chairman emeritus.

Viacom announced the move after a morning board meeting.CEO Philippe Dauman will succeed Redstone as executive chairman, though the decision wasn't unanimous: Shari Redstone, Sumner's daughter, didn't vote in favor.Yesterday, CBS said Redstone had resigned his post there and was replaced as executive chairman by chief Les Moonves. Shari had been entitled under the Redstone family trust to become chairman of both CBS and Viacom after Sumner's departure of those posts, but a deal enabled Moonves to chair CBS instead; she had no similar deal with Dauman.As with CBS, Shari was offered a spot as non-executive chairman at Viacom but declined that post. ...


Site Meter