Sumner Redstone’s financial death spiral continues. Three months ago, Forbes put Sumner’s net worth at $5.1 billion. Now “it is unclear if Mr. Redstone remains a billionaire,” says the NYT’s Tim Arango.
Sumner has publicly insisted that he won’t sell any more CBS or Viacom, but the market doesn’t believe him. In fact, if push comes to shove, Sumner is apparently willing to dump CBS.
In an effort to stave off the dismantling of his media empire, Sumner M. Redstone, the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS, recently proposed to sell his family’s 1,500-screen theatre chain in an effort to restructure his large debt load.
The proposal was made in a plan submitted to his bankers, according to two people briefed on the negotiations who spoke on condition they not be identified. But the proposed sale may not be enough to placate bankers, not least because no one can seem to agree on what the movie theatres are worth.
Here is what just about everyone, including those in Mr. Redstone’s inner circle, agrees on: if it gets bad enough, Mr. Redstone has indicated he would be willing to part with CBS, but not Viacom, according to three people briefed on the talks who, like the others involved, spoke on condition of anonymity.
To recap: Sumner’s private holding company, National Amusements, has $1.6 billion of debt, $800 million of which is due on December 19. Offsetting this, the company owns about $1.6 billion of assets:
- $1.4 billion of Viacom and CBS stock (at Monday’s closing price)
- A chain of 1,500 movie theatres worth, perhaps, a few hundred million
- $8.5 million of WMS Industries, a public slot machine maker (4 million shares)
- $23 million of Midway Games (80% of company)
See Also: Sumner: I’m Not Broke
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