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Viacom Stumbles and Shari Redstone Rises



Viacom is hurting, but its former chair’s daughter Shari Redstone is soaring. It’s owner Sumner Redstone is not the only one having troubles these days as Viacom had a terrible fiscal year which ended on September 30.

It also saw its 4th quarter revenue plummet.

According to The New York Times, Viacom saw a 25% drop in profit and a 6% decrease in revenue for its fiscal year. Its net income for Q4 was just $252 million, a 71% drop from the previous year when profits reached $884 million.The drop in revenue was attributed to poor advertising sales.

The situation is so dire that the Viacom board is now seriously considering a merger with its sister company CBS which was spun off from Viacom not that long ago.

Maybe Viacom deliberately chose to release its earnings report for the day after the Presidential elections. If Viacom purposely scheduled their E.P.S. report the morning after the election, hoping their financial results would get lost in other news, they got their wish, ” Todd Juenger, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, said in a research note quoted in the Times.

“Given the dislocations across the markets that will begin today and last into the future, we doubt many of you are in the mood to read about Viacom results, any more than we are in a mood to write about them.”

Viacom currently owns Paramount Studios, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and many more cable channels.

But Viacom’s temporary chief tried to put a positive spin on things.

“With new leadership across the company, continued investments in new content, technologies and targeted acquisitions, and an expanded board of directors, I have great confidence in Viacom’s next phase, as the company explores the exciting possibilities ahead, ” Thomas E. Dooley, Viacom’s outgoing interim chief, said in a statement.

Shari Redstone, on the other hand, is doing quite well these days. Variety reports that she orchestrated the appointment of 5 new members to Viacom’s board. She has also been meeting with the company’s leadership on all levels and has been pushing for the CBS reunion.

Just a year ago Shari Redstone turned down a $1 Billion offer to sell her 20% stake in National Amusements, the parent company of both Viacom and CBS. This was clearly a statement that she means to stick around for a while.

With the 93 year old Sumner Redstone seemingly unable to function these days, and his Viacom media empire hurting, Shari Redstone is poised to assume a much greater role with both Viacom and CBS.

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