Sumner Redstone cool with Dauman; theaters hot with buyers

April 30, 2009

As we previously noted in MediaFile the main takeway from Viacom’s earnings call was that advertising is awful, but it’s not getting worse. But there were a few other highlights, too, so here’s a time-saving rundown:

Sumner Redstone is still a gigantic fan of Philippe Dauman. Even after 12-months in which Viacom’s stock price has dropped 50 percent, Redstone introduced Dauman as “my great friend” and “the greatest CEO of all” while crediting him “capable and insightful leadership.”

National Amusement’s movie theaters are a hot ticket. Redstone said the sale of theaters in the United Kingdom and United States has attracted “substantial preliminary interest” from buyers. “”We are very encouraged by both the number of interested bidders and particularly the prices being discussed.”

Dauman isn’t sweating Epix. Asked what happens to the bottom line, worst case, if the movie network isn’t launched on the terms that Viacom wants, Dauman responded that, “There is not a worst case here. We are quite engaged in discussions. You will see the affiliate agreements being announced as we get closer to launch. So we are in good shape and furthermore, in addition to covering the movie costs on the Paramount side, we are creating a great new asset for Viacom and as well as our partners.

(Photo: Reuters)

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