March 4, 2020
ViacomCBS has announced that it is willing to sell publisher Simon & Schuster, which Viacom acquired in the ‘80s when it bought Paramount Communications.
Founded in 1924, the publisher releases 2,000 new titles a year from authors like Stephen King and Doris Kearns Goodwin. It moved to CBS in 2006, when Viacom and CBS split, then came back to the combined company in the merger that closed last December.
Bob Bakish, chief executive officer, ViacomCBS, says the company will look for strategic alternatives for the publisher as it seeks to exit non-strategic businesses, building up cash to invest in content, streaming and other areas. In addition to Simon & Schuster, the company has put “Black Rock,” the CBS headquarters, on the auction block.
Bakis said Simon & Schuster “is not a core asset” at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Fransciso. Bakis claims the company has received “multiple, unsolicited inbound calls” expressing interest in the publisher.
“We’ll engage in a process and look at strategic alternatives for Simon & Schuster,” says Bakish. “[The publishing unit] is not a core asset. It is not video-based. It does not have significant connection for our broader business.”
According to reports, the publishing company could earn more than $1 billion.
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