Viacom: Don’t look to us for major dealmaking
After Comcast-NBC Universal, investment bankers are clearly drooling at the thought of some big money wheeling and dealing in the media business. Probably best not to count too heavily on Viacom being a player.
Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman, speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, was asked about his company’s interest in acquisitions. His response was less than inspiring if you’re thinking about blockbuster deals: “I’ll tell you the kind of acquisition we like. We recent bought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million.”
While Dauman said Viacom would also consider looking at some independent cable networks in the U.S. or overseas, he made it know that “we are not interested in making the big splashy acquisition out there.”
Michael Eisner, who interviewed Dauman, also asked whether Viacom itself could be a takeover target in light of the Comcast-NBC Universal deal. (Recall, both these guys have danced with Comcast. It made a hostile bid for Disney when Eisner was still running the show, and is said to have recently looked at buying Viacom).
To paraphrase Dauman, who put it more diplomatically, Sumner Redstone is not about to sell Viacom to a cable company or anybody else. It is, after all, the love of his life.
To wrap the whole thing up, somebody asked Eisner and Dauman what Redstone thought of the Comcast deal.
Eisner: You know, I haven’t asked him.
Dauman: I will endorse Michael’s answer.
Eisner: I’m not doing it for political reasons. I forgot. His personal life is so much more interesting.