Redstone’s last picture show

December 4, 2008

Media mogul Sumner Redstone appears to be sticking with his decision to not sell more shares in Viacom and CBS. Here’s the Financial Times:

Media mogul Sumner Redstone has reached agreement with his daughter, Shari, to put some of National Amusement’s 1,500 cinemas on the block rather than the entire division, as part of debt-restructuring discussions to avoid selling more shares of Viacom and CBS, according to people familiar with the matter.

If lenders agree, the plan would clear the way to sell a part of the US group and 19 theatres in the UK. A prospectus is not expected to be released until early January, one person familiar with the discussions said.

It was not immediately clear how much the proposed partial sale would fetch. The entire chain is valued at $500m to $700m by analysts and at about $1billion by Mr Redstone.

This comes after National Amusements sold its stake in video game company Midway for $100,000 and a big tax writeoff.

As you’ve read here before, Redstone is trying to restructure about $1.6 billion in debt. Half of that, as the FT notes, is due December 19 (only 15 more shopping days until debt day!). Redstone is in this position after he blew a debt covenant that was tied to Viacom’s and CBS’s market value. Both stocks took a dive, which forced Redstone into selling $233 million in non-voting shares of both companies, the FT reported.

Meanwhile, we asked Regal Entertainment CEO Mike Campbell if he would be interested in buying National Amusements’ theater chain If Redstone does put it on the block. Cambell said their domestic theaters would be a good fit — but noted that the credit crunch could hinder financing.

Keep an eye on:

Our Reuters Media Summit: We’re heading into the last day, but have a look at our interviews with Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin, Microsoft videogame executive Shane Kim, Professional Golfers Association Commissioner Tim Finchem and more. We’ve been running Summit blog entries here on Mediafile, but they’re all in one convenient place at the Summit Notebook site too.

You can’t have too much Michael Wolff. Here’s Wolff in a video interview with me.,

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned earlier this year after patronizing a prostitute, is entering the journalism world with a column at, the online magazine owned by The Washington Post Co. Reported by Reuters, but broken by the New York Observer’s John Koblin.

(Photo: Reuters)

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The first step to SIRI survival would be for Mr. Karmazin to stop treating his loyal customers as expendable. There is already a groundswell of Sirius and XM users planning to cancel the service and drive 4Q projections down in protest.

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