Viacom has been divesting "non-strategic" assets in an effort to pay down some of the debt it assumed in acquiring Blockbuster and Paramount Communications. Viacom officially is on record as saying CBS is overpriced and that it is not interested in acquiring it. (CBS has accepted an $81 per share offer from Westinghouse Electric, but other bids are expected.) However, Viacom officials have an interest in keeping the company's stock price above a certain level through the end of September, or else they risk paying a penalty to shareholders related to their acquisitions of Paramount and Blockbuster. If Viacom expresses an overt interest in CBS, it is not likely to be until after that deadline expires, because of the deleterious effect it would have on Viacom's stock price.
Copyright August 1995 Crain Communications Inc.