MediaFile

Sumner Redstone: World could end tomorrow!

October 23, 2008

Step off — CBS and Viacom are not for sale!

That comes courtesy of Sumner Redstone, who should know since he holds a controlling stake in both of the media companies. Here’s what he told the Wall Street Journal in an interview:

Asked whether he would consider selling one of the companies, Mr. Redstone said: “Not a chance. I will not sell Viacom and I will not sell CBS. They’re two great companies.” He added: “We have no intention to sell any more stock and I’m decisive about that.”

Redstone’s interview with the Journal should help clear the air on much recent speculation about the future of Viacom and CBS — both suffering badly in the stock market. In the last month, shares of Viacom have dropped about 30 percent, while CBS shares have fallen a staggering 45 percent.

Stock slide aside, the chatter about a possible sale really began when Redstone had to sell a bunch of non-voting stock earlier this month to help pay off debt at his privately held National Amusements. Now he’s trying to rework some of the convenants related to that debt.

About talks with lenders he says: 

“I have every reason to have some confidence” that we will be able to reach a deal with the banks, Mr. Redstone said. “I have no guarantee though…of course, anything is possible: The world might end tomorrow.”

Ummm, let’s hope not.  

Keep an eye on:

  • Ticketmaster agreed to acquire what is widely regarded as the music world’s most powerful artist-management company and install the management company’s boss at the helm of the combined (WSJ.com)
  • Rupert Murdoch has raised objections with Michael Wolff and his publisher about portions of a new book, “The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch” (NYTimes.com)
  • A rift is developing between Martha Stewart and Wenda Harris Millard, the new co-chief executive of her company (NY Post)

(Photo: Reuters)

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