Viacom Inc.
 (VIA)

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  • Wed, Feb. 3, 4:37 PM
    • CBS says Chairman Sumner Redstone has resigned and is named chairman emeritus, and the company has approved President and CEO Leslie Moonves as his successor.
    • CBS says it offered the chairman's position to Redstone's daughter, Shari, but she turned down the job "in light of her other professional and personal responsibilities, and in recognition of her confidence in Mr. Moonves."
    • The 92-year-old Redstone's health has been the subject of recent debate, and has faced questions about whether he is still mentally competent enough to run CBS and Viacom (VIA, VIAB), where he remains chairman.
    • CBS +3.5% AH.
    | Wed, Feb. 3, 4:37 PM | 4 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 22, 8:19 PM
    • A late Friday proxy filing sheds some light on the compensation changes at Viacom (VIA +4.1%, VIAB +3.9%), showing that CEO Philippe Dauman signed a two-year extension that brought a $17M stock award.
    • On Wednesday, the company said it had slashed Dauman's bonus (and cut total comp for Chairman Sumner Redstone by 85%) -- that, in the wake of calls to remove the company's management by activist Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management, who pressed for heavier cost cutting at the media giant.
    • Jackson says Dauman and COO Tom Dooley have been paid a combined $432M over the past five years.
    • The Dauman renewal, from Jan. 15, 2015, brings his total compensation for 2015 up 22% to $54.15M. The company amended Dauman's contract to extend it to Dec. 31, 2018, including performance-restricted share units.
    • Dauman's base pay stayed near even, at $4M, and his non-equity bonus comp fell 30% to $14M. So aside from the renewal bonus, Dauman's total compensation fell 16% to $37.1M.
    • After hours today: VIA +0.3%; VIAB flat.
    • Previously: Judge orders new medical exam for Sumner Redstone (Jan. 22 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom up 4% as Societe Generale upgrades to Buy (Jan. 22 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom slashes Redstone's pay by 85%, cuts Dauman's bonus (Jan. 20 2016)
    | Fri, Jan. 22, 8:19 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Jan. 22, 6:19 PM
    • A judge has ordered a new medical exam for mogul Sumner Redstone, the latest turn in the ongoing court fight (and succession drama) over the aging billionaire's mental capacity.
    • Superior Court Judge David Cowan has reversed his earlier position, saying that a doctor hired by ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer should get an hour alone to evaluate the overall and mental health of Redstone, chairman of Viacom (VIA +4.1%, VIAB +3.9%) and CBS (CBS +2.5%).
    • For their part, Redstone's attorneys have argued that he receives frequent visits from a doctor and has shown no impairment in tests.
    • Herzer has said Redstone is unable to speak and can't meaningfully engage in discussion about his medical care or other topics. She had filed suit after being expelled from Redstone's house in October and being removed as his healthcare proxy.
    • Previously: Viacom up 4% as Societe Generale upgrades to Buy (Jan. 22 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom slashes Redstone's pay by 85%, cuts Dauman's bonus (Jan. 20 2016)
    • Previously: Shareholder suit presses Viacom, CBS; alleges Redstone is incapacitated (Jan. 19 2016)
    | Fri, Jan. 22, 6:19 PM
  • Fri, Jan. 22, 10:07 AM
    | Fri, Jan. 22, 10:07 AM
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 5:50 PM
    • Something about May 2017 has scheduled movies scattering. Earlier, Disney said it would delay Star Wars: Episode VIII to December 2017 from its original May 26, 2017 date; now Paramount (VIA -1.8%, VIAB -2.5%) has pulled its Terminator sequel off that schedule.
    • The film (with a working title of Terminator 2) was set for May 19, 2017, the weekend before the new Star Wars film was set to bow. Now Paramount will place its Baywatch reboot there instead.
    • The moves together may clear up some action-oriented box-office dollars for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
    • No word yet on Terminator 3, which Paramount had tentatively set for June 2018, or when Terminator 2 might debut.
    • The Terminator films have been largely successful, though last summer's Terminator: Genisys drew just $89.8M domestically, the lowest total for a Terminator film since the 1984 original.
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 5:50 PM
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 4:32 PM
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 4:32 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 5:32 PM
    • A shareholder lawsuit is keeping attention on the status of Viacom and CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone, alleging that he's incapacitated and shouldn't have received millions in compensation from the companies he leads.
    • Viacom (VIA +3.3%, VIAB +4.7%) posted strong gains today as activist investor Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management posted a detailed call for a leadership shakeup and cost cuts. CBS finished down 1.1%.
    • The suit -- a derivative suit, against the boards of both companies -- alleges that millions of dollars in payments to Redstone amount to "services not rendered" and bad faith by the boards of Viacom and CBS, and that Viacom's board misrepresented Redstone's health in its January 2015 proxy.
    • Viacom says the shareholder suit is without merit and it would fight it vigorously; with regard to Jackson's 99-page presentation, it says it's focused on long-term shareholder value.
    • The 92-year-old Redstone has been the focus of succession questions after a fall lawsuit from an ex-girlfriend challenged his mental competence.
    • Updated: Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has filed papers to quash a subpoena related to the suit filed by Manuela Herzer, Redstone's ex.
    • Previously: Viacom +5.9%, leading market up as activist calls for shakeup (Jan. 19 2016)
    • Previously: Redstone seeks suit dismissal; ex-girlfriend looks to subpoena Dauman (Jan. 05 2016)
    • Previously: Bloomberg: Deal would make Moonves CBS chairman after Redstone (Dec. 22 2015)
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 5:32 PM | 2 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 1:54 PM
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS +0.2%) fell out of the top spot in U.S. box office in this, its fifth weekend of release -- yielding the lead to Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio.
    • In totals including the Martin Luther King Day holiday, Ride Along 2 (CMCSA +0.3%) drew $41.6M to lead U.S. grosses, followed by The Revenant (FOX +1.1%, FOXA +1.5%) with $39M. The Force Awakens was No. 3 with $32.6M.
    • Paramount (VIA +3.9%, VIAB +4.9%) held down the next two spots on the chart, with new film 13 Hours drawing $19.7M and Daddy's Home pulling $12M.
    • The Force Awakens shed theaters for the first time, but added to its all-time best domestic total, now $858.5M, and became just the fifth film ever to cross the $1B mark in international gross ($1.012B). Its worldwide total comes to $1.871B, good for the third all-time spot behind Titanic's $2.187B.
    • While Nomura estimates $230M to come for The Force Awakens in China (and Stifel laid in a high expectation of $450M), the movie was bumped from a large number of the country's screens to make room for home-grown films -- it's already lost its box office lead there to Boonie Bears 3 -- and may top out at $150M or even less.
    • While eyes were on China, the world's No. 2 film market where The Force Awakens crested $100M, it spent its fifth week at No. 1 in Japan with a cumulative total of more than $74M.
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 1:54 PM | 19 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 10:50 AM
    • Viacom (VIA +5%, VIAB +5.9%) is among a few stocks leading the market's gains today as activist investor Eric Jackson pushes for a management and board shakeup and cost-cutting initiative to lift the company's stock price.
    • The company's shares have taken the brunt of a media sell-off over the past year, falling 30.6% over the past six months.
    • Jackson, of SpringOwl Asset Management, published a 99-page presentation on turning around Viacom, which includes calling for the resignation of Sumner Redstone as executive chairman and a push into digital offerings.
    • Jackson argues the changes he's laying out could boost Viacom shares by up to 135%.
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 10:50 AM | 3 Comments
  • Fri, Jan. 8, 2:12 PM
    | Fri, Jan. 8, 2:12 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 3:51 PM
    • With Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS -2.2%) trucking toward Avatar's domestic box office record following a $90M weekend, there were still slimmer pickings for competitors who nonetheless pursued more holiday moviegoers.
    • Paramount's Daddy's Home (VIA -2.1%, VIAB -1.2%) held down the No. 2 spot for the second weekend and actually held a lot of its audience, dropping from a first-weekend $38.7M to $29.2M and adding up to $93.9M in its cumulative take.
    • Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters (CMCSA -1.1%) showed some strength in its third week as well, holding up with $12.8M for the No. 4 spot ($62.9M total), and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (FOX -2.4%, FOXA -2.2%) drew $11.8M for the No. 5 position ($67.4M total). Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (Weinstein Co.) went wide at the No. 3 spot with $15.7M total.
    • Elsewhere, while U.S. theaters booked a record year of $11.01B, global box office hit a record $38B in 2015, Rentrak says, with China up nearly 50% Y/Y to $6.77B -- another data point setting up tough comps for 2016.
    • Previously: Exhibitor stocks whacked after 2016 U.S. box forecasts taken lower (Jan. 04 2016)
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 3:51 PM
  • Mon, Jan. 4, 3:30 PM
    • Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves is expecting a strong year for media networks and is still bullish on a subset of network stocks as top sector picks for 2016: Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -2.8%, FOXA -2.7%), AMC Networks (AMCX +0.1%), Netflix (NFLX -5%) and Time Warner (TWX -0.3%).
    • Hargreaves has Overweight ratings on all of them. He had called out AMC, Fox and Netflix for praise in the past.
    • After a tough year for media stocks, he believes fundamentals are lining up for 2016, including election-year advertising, amid lowered market expectations.
    • The group's average multiple is close to historical averages and below the broader market, "which creates a slightly positive risk/reward around valuation, in our view."
    • Two possible negative catalysts come if negotiations between Viacom (VIA -2.2%, VIAB -1.6%) and Dish Network (DISH -0.4%) take a bad turn, and if Thursday Night Football bidding follows a trend of skyrocketing sports rights costs.
    • Previously: Pacific Crest on media: Strong on AMC Networks, Fox, Netflix (Nov. 17 2015)
    | Mon, Jan. 4, 3:30 PM
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 4:05 PM
    • Hollywood has capped off a record year of just over $11B at the box office -- with a little help at the end from some Star Warriors -- and the spoils aren't evenly divided between studios, as Universal has pulled off a historic hit year.
    • A boost from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its record-smashing performance pushed receipts past the $10.9B previous record, from 2013, by 1.5%. The $11B-plus was up 7.3% Y/Y.
    • With final numbers still coming in, admissions look flat, but higher ticket prices are providing a revenue boost.
    • Universal (CMCSA -0.4%) and Walt Disney (DIS -1.1%) drove the year with dominating performances, while Paramount (VIA +1.7%, VIAB +0.9%), Fox (FOX -0.4%, FOXA -0.4%), Sony (SNE -0.4%) and Lions Gate (LGF +0.1%) all declined Y/Y.
    • Universal's performance came from several of the year's biggest hits, notably Jurassic World, Furious 7, Minions, Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades of Grey. For its part, aside from an in-progress record push by Star Wars (about to surpass Jurassic World's domestic gross), Disney also put Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out into the year's top five. Both of those drew more than $350M at home.
    • Moviegoers who crave more original screenplays may end up disappointed, if studios learn any lesson from this record year: Seven of the top 10 films were sequels and remakes, and the top two (Jurassic World and Star Wars) are from franchises dating to 1993 and 1977 respectively.
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 4:05 PM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 22, 2015, 10:07 AM
    • CBS CEO Les Moonves is set to become the broadcaster's chairman upon the death of Sumner Redstone, following a deal with daughter (and current vice chairman) Shari Redstone, Bloomberg is reporting.
    • The move is a major step toward settling one of two major succession dramas swirling around Sumner Redstone amid reports about his ill health as legal battles about his competence heat up. Redstone is also executive chairman at Viacom (VIA, VIAB), though Shari Redstone doesn't have a similar arrangement with Viacom chief Philippe Dauman.
    • Dauman has a contractual provision allowing him to take millions of dollars in severance if he's not made Viacom chairman after Sumner Redstone. He was put in charge of Redstone's health care in October, kicking off a legal battle with Redstone's ex-girlfriend Manuela Herzer.
    • In that dispute, Herzer was denied her request yesterday to interview Redstone, but will get a right to question his doctors and possibly Dauman.
    • Shari Redstone is entitled under the family trust to become chairman of CBS and Viacom, and she rejected an offer from her father for $1B for her 20% stake in National Amusements, the family company that holds the CBS and Viacom stakes, The Wall Street Journal reported.
    • Today: CBS +0.8%; VIA +1.7%; VIAB +2.3%.
    | Dec. 22, 2015, 10:07 AM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2015, 4:18 PM
    • U.S. studios will head to Europe for a January hearing over antitrust concerns that were initially raised with formal charges in July, Reuters reports.
    • A charge sheet from the European Commission named Disney (DIS -3.8%), NBCUniversal (CMCSA -1.8%), Paramount (VIA -0.6%, VIAB -1.9%), Sony (SNE -2.8%), Twentieth Century Fox (FOX -1.4%, FOXA -1.4%), Warner Bros. (TWX -2.1%) -- and Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY -2.2%).
    • The EC accused the firms of creating improper movie licensing deals blocking users outside the UK and Ireland (thus, most of Europe) from getting to paid Sky programming. Related clauses in the deals block other broadcasters from making pay TV available in the UK and Ireland. Meanwhile, the EC is pursuing a market less fragmented by border restrictions.
    • Heavy fines could await all involved; the EU could fine companies up to 10% of global annual revenue. Disney pledged in the summer to fight vigorously.
    • A closed-door hearing is set for Jan. 18-19.
    • Previously: EU antitrust charges against Hollywood: What's at stake (Jul. 23 2015)
    | Dec. 18, 2015, 4:18 PM | 3 Comments
  • Dec. 15, 2015, 1:39 PM
    • Another new lawsuit filed by the ex-girlfriend of Sumner Redstone alleges that his signature was forged on a key document with the suggestion that he is being manipulated in business and personal affairs.
    • Manuela Herzer has been pursuing legal action after her removal as Redstone's healthcare agent on Oct. 16. A document signed in November allowing her to remove belongings from his home had Redstone's signature forged, Herzer alleges.
    • She's renewing her call for a medical examination before a January court hearing, and the judge has agreed to hold a new hearing on the issue next Monday.
    • Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom (VIA +1%, VIAB +1.3%) had replaced Herzer on Redstone's healthcare directive, and has defended Redstone's mental competence. The cases have raises a swirl of succession questions, however, among investors at Viacom and at CBS (CBS +1.5%) -- companies at which Redstone is executive chairman.
    • Previously: Viacom chief: Redstone plans in place; retain 'decency' in speculation (Dec. 07 2015)
    • Previously: Viacom statement: Redstone physicians say he's 'mentally capable' (Dec. 02 2015)
    • Previous Redstone coverage
    | Dec. 15, 2015, 1:39 PM | 1 Comment
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