Chairman Sumner Redstone began CBS’ quarterly conference call by reviewing how his family company, National Amusements Inc. (NAI), had sold $233 million of CBS and Viacom stock to shore up the balance sheet at NAI. But he insisted that NAI is having productive talks with its lenders and he has no intention to sell any more shares of CBS or Viacom.
Redstone lamented the recent stock sales and insisted that the stock market undervalues both companies. “Let me emphasize that this is not something that NAI wanted to do and it isn’t something that NAI intends to do again. Let me make it sure, clear, certain – NAI has no intention of selling a single share of Viacom or CBS,” he said. Whatever actions were required to deal with the NAI balance sheet, Redstone said, it in no way diminishes his optimism for CBS or Viacom.
According to Redstone, NAI has top flight financial advisers, including Citigroup, Rothschild and Shearman & Sterling. “They are all working with the banks and noteholders to restructure the unsecured debt,” he said.
“Finally, and most important, notwithstanding speculation in the press and elsewhere, I want all of you to know that NAI is having extremely constructive talks with its lenders and I fully expect that a fair and workable deal for [NAI] will be reached in a highly reasonable timeframe,” Redstone concluded.
The mogul said he would not be able to take any questions on the situation at NAI and CBS executives declined to answer any analyst questions that touched on the subject. When one analyst asked later if Redstone was still on the call to take questions on any subject, he was told no.