Viacom: Interim CEO Exits, Issues Profit Warning

On the same day Viacom announced its interim chief executive was departing, cut its dividend, and issued a fourth-quarter profit warning, the company’s stock barely moved.

Tom Dooley -- the interim CEO of Viacom, who replaced embattled Philippe Dauman --- is departing the company in November. He was considered a candidate to become permanent CEO.

Viacom is reportedly no longer seeking to sell a minority stake in Paramount Pictures -- something Dooley, according to reports, was pitching to the board.

Dooley’s pitch was a continuation of a Dauman objective, controversial to some, in selling a 49% minority stake in Paramount. National Amusements, controlling shareholder of Viacom, was strongly against this proposal.

At the same time, Viacom said it would cut its dividend in half -- to 20 cents a share from 40 cents a share. The company now forecasts earnings per share to be 65 cents to 70 cents. Previously, industry consensus estimates were earnings would be 91 cents a share.

After an initial 1% decline in its stock price on Wednesday, Viacom close virtually unchanged down 0.3% to $36.05. Analysts say much of the pressure on the stock price has been already built in, due to its highly public senior executive squabbles and sinking business metrics.



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