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Viacom Inc. (VIA)

  • Tue, Apr. 7, 8:30 PM
    • Viacom (VIAB -1.9%) hit a third rail of investing by suspending stock repurchases as part of its $785M writedown/amortization in restructuring ... but as is often the case, the company may be better off by taking its cost-savings medicine now and picking up the buyback later, Miriam Gottfried writes.
    • Viacom has repurchased $15B in shares since October 2010 -- nearly 55% of its current market cap.
    • Buybacks shrink outstanding shares, which boosts headline metrics, but "while Viacom will temporarily stop lowering the denominator of that calculation, the cost savings from its restructuring should bump up the numerator."
    • Viacom said its new actions should provide some significant ongoing savings of $350M/year, after $175M in fiscal 2015.
    • Gottfried compares Viacom's 11.2 forward P/E favorably to peers that range from 17 to 21.1.
    • Previously: Viacom off 1.9% following writedown; analysts update targets (Apr. 07 2015)
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  • Tue, Apr. 7, 10:10 AM
    • There's some early volume driving Viacom (VIAB -1.9%) lower in the wake of its $785M writedown as part of its restructuring.
    • While the company offered few new details on layoffs or its new structure, one telling portion was amortization based on lower revenue expectations, in "certain original programming genres that have been impacted by changing media consumption habits."
    • Peter Kafka's sources saw the message there: The Internet is killing the shelf life for Viacom reality shows like Jersey Shore and others that the company purchased from others -- and may have overvalued.
    • SA contributor Dana Blankenhorn sees M&A in the firm's near future. The Sumner Redstone era is coming to an end, and one way or another Blankenhorn thinks it's with a sale: "Redstone may not want to sell, but he can either find a buyer now or let his estate auction off the property at some time in the future."
    • The B shares face a couple of price target changes today: Wedbush has lowered its target to $77, from $83 (with a Neutral rating), while Deutsche Bank has boosted its target to $85 (with a Buy rating). VIAB is trading at $67.30.
    • Previously: Viacom takes $785M writedown for restructuring (Apr. 06 2015)
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  • Mon, Mar. 9, 2:15 PM
    • Viacom's (VIA +1.2%, VIAB +1.3%) jumped into positive ground as its restructuring should be done by month's end and bring $250M in savings, CEO Philippe Dauman says.
    • Speaking at Deutsche Bank's media conference, Dauman also raised the issue of re-evaluating some programming, in the middle of a season of companywide ratings issues.
    • A long-in-the-works layoff process reportedly began as the company's TV channels were realigned into two groups and cuts were reported at TV Land. MTV is reported to have cut 9% of workers.
    • Despite investor chatter about Viacom reuniting with CBS, Dauman was categorical: "We have no intention of buying CBS or buying any big company ... If we see there's lot of consolidation, we'll take a look at it, but we're not going to be a consolidator."
    • Dauman also denied the company would sell Paramount in whole or part to a Chinese company: "completely untrue."
    • Previously: Moonves boosts CBS, dismisses merger talk again; shares rise (Mar. 02 2015)
    • Previously: Viacom reportedly prepping companywide layoffs (Feb. 23 2015)
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  • Mon, Mar. 2, 8:23 PM
    • Les Moonves said on CNBC last month that CBS was "very happy being alone," and the CEO doubled down on that talk at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
    • Moonves says his COO tells him that CBS will be a $100 stock in four years, so buyers or merger partners like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) or Viacom (VIA, VIAB) would have to pay "a very high price." CBS shares gained 4.5% Monday to close at $61.75.
    • He also expressed little concern about smaller cable bundles or any lack of negotiating power by eschewing a merger, saying CBS will be in every bundle. "People can't live without CBS ... We like the hand we're playing."
    • The company faces new negotiations with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) at the end of the year.
    • Previously: AMC Networks finally looking for a deal? (Feb. 25 2015)
    • Previously: Cumulus higher in late trade as CBS M&A chatter flies (Feb. 24 2015)
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  • Thu, Feb. 12, 7:06 PM
    • Following earnings, Time Warner's (TWX +2.8%) got another challenge ahead in negotiations for programming renewals with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).
    • With distributors slimming down packages (and programming costs), economies of scale are likely to play in Time Warner's favor vs. smaller programmers.
    • The same dynamic is driving chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) or even TWX -- the need for size to get more mojo in negotiations with stingier distribution channels.
    • An increasing factor is the gradual unbundling of programming from traditional distributors through services like Sling TV, or subscription services from CBS and HBO.
    • TWX's outlook looks increasingly dependent on accelerating revenue growth -- "which is likely to require successful renegotiation of the last two major domestic (pay-TV) deals and highly successful box office performance," says Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves.
    • Previously: Dish opens Sling TV signups for all U.S. viewers (Feb. 09 2015)
  • Tue, Feb. 10, 7:37 PM
    • Comedy Central has confirmed that Jon Stewart is departing The Daily Show later this year. He's been the face of the show since 1999.
    • The program is the most valuable franchise at Comedy Central. While the network hasn't been as valuable as Nickelodeon is for parent Viacom (VIA, VIAB) -- which has seen a surplus of ratings problems of late -- The Daily Show reportedly contributed $55.6M in ad dollars in 2013, and 1.4M viewers on average.
    • Moreover, the show was often valuable as a crucial pawn in carriage disputes with network distributors.
    • Stewart's move follows the departure of late-night cohort Stephen Colbert to take over as host of The Late Show on CBS.
    • For its part (and its plans), Comedy Central has said The Daily Show will "endure for years to come."
    • After hours, VIAB -3%.
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 7:22 PM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) closed Friday down 4.4% after missing slightly on fiscal Q1 revenues the previous day, but with a few more stormy concerns popping up -- including ad inventory worries and a planned reduction in stock buybacks.
    • "Layoffs on the way" is the message observers took from CEO Philippe Dauman's warning of "substantial net cost savings throughout our organization" and that the company would "pull all the levers" to achieve them. Even Chairman Sumner Redstone has taken a pay cut, with total comp reduced to $13.2M in 2014 compared to a prior $36.2M.
    • The absence of Redstone on the company's earnings call loomed large, raising concerns about his health in the context of the firm's not-quite-transparent succession plans.
  • Wed, Jan. 14, 3:04 PM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) falls after Citigroup cuts its rating on the company to Sell, a two-notch slide from the previous ratings perch at Buy.
    • Citi slashes the price target on Viacom to $62 from $88.
    • The investment firm sees a risk that Dish Network might drop Viacom after the current carriage fee deal expires.
    • In other smaller cable deals, the impact on EBITDA from lower programming fees more than offset revenue lost from subscriber defections.
    • M&A could save the day for Viacom, notes Citi.
  • Jul. 16, 2014, 8:13 AM
    • 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) will pay as much as $85 per share for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), according to Bloomberg.
    • The frothy premium hasn't gone unnoticed in the broadcaster sector with CBS (NYSE:CBS) up 1.6% premarket and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) rising 1.8%. Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is 1.7% higher, while even media giants Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are catching a piece of the frenzy, up 0.7% and 0.9% premarket, respectively.
    • TWX is in dreamland, up +20.2% to $85.32.
    • It's setting up to be a banner day for the PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (NYSEARCA:PBS).
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  • Jan. 30, 2014, 12:04 PM
    • Media stocks are notable out-performers today as earnings report in the sector continue to come in favorable and more content deals across platforms and geographic regions signal more revenue potential for companies on the content side.
    • Advancers: CBS (CBS) +4.0%, Disney (DIS) +3.2%, Twentieth-Century Fox (FOXA) +4.7%, Lions Gate (LGF) +3.7%, Viacom (VIAB, VIA) +4.5%, Time Warner (TWX) +2.9%.
    • Related ETFs: PBS
  • May 16, 2012, 2:05 PM
    Shares of Viacom (VIA +3.0%) move up after Eagle Capital's Merly Witmer comes out with positive comments on the name at the Ira Sohn Conference. It won't be the last stock to catch a reaction emanating from the hedge fund manager confab. Still on tap: David Einhorn 3:05 PM EST (HLF?), Bill Ackman 5:30 PM.
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  • May 3, 2012, 6:02 PM
    Netflix (NFLX -7.6%) closed at levels last seen in early January after Viacom (VIA, VIAB) stated on its FQ2 earnings call Epix's movies will be available on Netflix "under any circumstance," but other streaming partners might also be added. Last week, it was reported Apple (AAPL) is talking to Epix, which Viacom co-owns with LGF and MGM, about a streaming deal. Netflix's exclusivity ends in September.
  • May 3, 2012, 9:00 AM
    Premarket gainers: KNSY +32%. CXW +10%. APKT +7%. ONNN +6%. CLUU +5%. WFM +4%. ARNA +4%. RIG +4%. VIA +3%. TDC +3%. AMT +3%. JRCC +3%. COCO +3%. BUD +3%.
    Losers: GMCR -41%. WTW -15%. ATML -8%. NMM -6%. JDSU -4%. TRS -5%. ARO -4%. HT -4%. M -3%. MGM -3%.
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  • Feb. 8, 2012, 1:18 PM
    Netflix (NFLX -2.6%) slumps after Amazon (AMZN) announces its anticipated Prime Video deal with Viacom (VIA, VIAB). The deal adds over 2K titles from cable networks such as Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, and boosts the size of Amazon's library to 15K (Netflix has 20K+). Ryan Lawler believes Prime Video now looks like a real competitor to Netflix, but thinks a standalone service is needed.
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  • Feb. 2, 2012, 9:00 AM
    Premarket gainers: GMCR +21%. CEDC +21%. MTSN +15%. OMEX +10%. GPS +8%. CNQR +6%. EA +6%. CDNS +6%. QCOM +5%. ELGX +5%. GFA +5%. AUO +4%. KSS +4%. ZNGA +4%. IRE +4%. CMI +3%. K +3%. CPST +3%. JDSU +3%. MA +3%. RENN +3%.
    Losers: SD -13%. ANF -12%. ANN -10%. NG -9%. BSX -6%. CI -6%. RCL -6%. UN -5%. MPW +4%. VIA -4%. UL -4%. CHKM -4%. SNE -4%. PCX -4%. PHM -3%. DOW -3%. ANZ -3%. CUK -3%. CCL -3%. NBG -3%.
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  • Aug. 18, 2011, 9:56 AM
    Shares in TV companies follow Time Warner (TWX -4%) lower, possibly on CEO Jeff Bewkes' comments about weaker ad sales. DIS -2.6%, CMCSA -2.1%, VIA -2.4%.
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Company Description
Viacom Inc is an entertainment content company. It connects with audiences in 165 countries and territories and creates television programs, motion pictures, applications, games, consumer products, social media & other entertainment content.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States