ViacomCBS Selling Simon & Schuster For $2.2 Billion

ViacomCBS is selling its Simon & Schuster publishing business to Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House for $2.175 billion in cash -- in a continuing effort to focus on its core TV, film, and digital media businesses.

The company says the money will be used to pay down debt, fund its dividend, and grow new streaming businesses.

The transaction is expected to close in 2021.

Early morning Wednesday trading of ViacomCBS stock was down 2% to $33.88.

Last week, Viacom initiated a new round of layoffs, with reports saying that 100 staffers will be let go. Early this year, ViacomCBS had 450 layoffs across all parts of the company and specifically with CBS Entertainment Group.

Traditional media layoffs have been regular occurrences recently at major media companies -- including WarnerMedia, Walt Disney, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.



With regard to ViacomCBS, Deutsche Bank recently wrote about a decline in the network's business and uncertainty over Viacom's streaming future, worried that streaming won’t be "more than a hedge against the decline in the traditional networks business."

Focusing on CBS Television Network itself, Deutsche Bank is also focused on the contract renewal with the National Football League -- a key revenue driver in terms of advertising and distribution business.
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