Viacom may sell “significant” minority stake in Paramount Pictures

February 24 04:44 2016

Viacom said Tuesday it may sell a “significant” minority stake in Paramount Pictures, seeking to generate funds amid volatility in its cable TV business and responding to shareholder calls to unload its holdings in the film unit.

“We have received indications of interest from potential partners seeking a strategic investment in Paramount Pictures and I have decided to pursue discussions with a select group of potential investors,” said Viacom chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman in a statement. Shares of Viacom rose 2.8% Tuesday to $37.88.

“In this time of change and enormous opportunity in our industry, a partnership will bring significant benefit to Paramount and Viacom, both strategically and financially, provide new opportunities for Paramount’s employees and talent,” he said.

Revealing his intention to sell a stake in Paramount is Dauman’s first strategic move since he was elevated to board chairmanship earlier this month. Facing pressure from investors to clarify its succession plans, Viacom, whose businesses also include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Channel, said on Feb. 4 that the ailing Sumner Redstone — who has controlled the company for decades — renounced his position as board chairman to become chairman emeritus.