Philippe Dauman touched on his company’s ongoing in-house drama Thursday morning during the Gabelli 8th Annual Movie & Entertainment Conference in New York City. But mostly, the Viacom Chairman, President and CEO frankly discussed the pending stake sale in Paramount Pictures.
“Paramount’s had a tough year,” Dauman started. “It’s no secret.”
Dauman thinks he can bring at least $10 per share back to stockholders by selling off a 49 percent position in the motion picture studio — something he still intends to accomplish.
If only it were that simple.
The top Viacom exec doesn’t think he’ll get a deal done by the end of this month anymore — conceding the original target — there’s simply way too much noise and litigation happening right now.
Plus, parent company National Amusements, Inc. (NAI) just changed the relevant bylaws, insisting now that any Paramount sale would require unanimous Viacom Board of Directors approval. With Sumner and Shari Redstone on that Board and firmly opposing the sale, a united front doesn’t seem likely.
“Naturally, recent events have slowed down the process,” Dauman admitted. “So our original process of reaching the target by the end of June is going to slip somewhere.”
Speaking of those “recent events,” during the conference, Dauman called the ailing Sumner Redstone his “great friend,” despite the chairman emeritus having recently booted both he and George Abrams from his trust and the NAI Board — a decision that the competing parties are currently battling out in the courts.