Culture

China's Wanda eyes stake in Paramount Pictures

China's Wanda eyes stake in Paramount Pictures”

National Amusements controls nearly 80 percent of the voting stock at Viacom and has a similar stake in CBS Corp.

Alan Gould of Brean Capital says, if Viacom can negotiate a deal of $4 billion and used even half of the amount to buy back shares, the move could increase the company's fiscal 2017 earnings a share, by 17.8 percent to $5.30.

Chinese companies are increasingly staking their claim on Hollywood, with Dalian Wanda Group Co. closer to its goal of becoming one of the world's dominant entertainment companies following reports it is in talks to buy a minority stake in the Paramount Pictures movie studio.

At a time when Viacom Inc's management is fighting a long drawn battle with Sumner Redstone, the company's controlling shareholder, who does not want to sell any stake of Paramount; reports surfaced that Viacom Inc is discussing matters to sell 49 percent stake in the Paramount Pictures movie studio to Dalian Wanda Group of China.

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Redstone's move to throw Dauman and Abrams off his trust is the subject of a court case in MA.

That drew a statement from National Amusements that said, in part that "any short-term benefits that might result from a Paramount transaction would be outweighed by the severe negative impact on Viacom's future strategic flexibility to best capitalize on this important asset".

Wanda is in talks with Viacom Inc.

"Paramount is one of Viacom's most valuable assets", according to National Amusements' statement.

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"National Amusements has one goal for Viacom, which is to create long-term value for all of Viacom's shareholders", the Norwood, Mass., company said in an emailed statement. "The complexities of joint-ownership of Paramount would undoubtedly extend far beyond Paramount into other divisions of Viacom and limit its options to take on partners".

The effort ended in late May when it became clear that Viacom's controlling shareholders, the Redstone family, opposed the sale, the people said. Dauman has said the divestiture would unlock value of $10 or more per Viacom share and that he would use the proceeds from a sale to pay off debt and for strategic development, particularly overseas. Further, any Paramount transaction would chill the interest of parties that may be interested in a larger transaction involving all of Viacom. The matter is now before Delaware's Chancery Court.

Dauman is contesting both actions, arguing that Redstone is not mentally competent to make decisions. "If required, we will do so".

Viacom's bylaws require that no sale or financial transaction affecting Paramount can occur without the unanimous approval of the Viacom board.

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