Will Moonves Address Viacom Reunion At Morgan Stanley Session?


All eyes will be on San Francisco on Tuesday, Feb. 27, as some of the nation’s top media C-Suiters and Wall Street watchdogs gather at the Palace Hotel for the second day of the four-day Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

Scheduled for a Noon Pacific question-and-answer session is CBS Corp. Chairman/CEO Les Moonves.

Will he discuss in any way a possible reunification of his company with Viacom?

It’s wholly possible, as Viacom President/CEO Bob Bakish will be mimicking Moonves by participating in a Q&A session on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 9:45am Pacific.

Viacom shares are on the uptick since the release of its Q4 results, while CBS stock is on a rebound after losing ground over the last three weeks.

CBS shared its Q4 2017 results on Feb. 15, and its earnings per share and revenues came in ahead of market expectations.

As noted by Trefis, CBS is expected to have a good Q1. During the quarter, local media revenue is expected to pace up to low single digits. CBS also expects its scatter pricing in the daytime, prime-time and late night time periods to be up nearly 40% from the upfront, “demonstrating broad-based health in the marketplace.”

For all of 2018, Trefis adds, CBS is guiding for revenue growth in high-single digits and EPS growth in the high teens, “largely on the back of growth in advertising, direct-to-consumer offerings, retransmission and reverse comps and international content licensing.”

Meanwhile, Gotham tabloid the New York Post reports that Wall Street is far from sold on a recombination of Viacom and CBS.

“The Viacom deal is leaning on [CBS],” Needham & Co. media analyst Laura Martin told the newspaper. “I think people who own CBS stock, who really bought into the unique assets … don’t like the idea that CBS is going to buy a dozen cable networks.”

Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Marci Ryvicker is also lackluster over the potential reunification of Viacom and CBS.

“The Street continues to overestimate the potential synergies,” she wrote in an investor note.