Viacom Says Earnings Hurt by "Disappointing" 'Turtles 2,' SVOD Deal Delay Amid Redstone Battle

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Viacom chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman

The company says its "recent and highly public governance controversy negatively impacted" a "significant" streaming deal it had expected to reach, but it has mostly completed "a very successful annual advertising upfront sales process."

Viacom on Friday said its fiscal third-quarter earnings, for the quarter ending June 30, will fall short of Wall Street expectations.

Based on preliminary information, it said it expects to report adjusted diluted earnings per share of approximately $1.00-$1.05 for the quarter. Analysts have, on average, been forecasting earnings of $1.35-$1.38. Viacom said its quarterly results will be "impacted by the theatrical underperformance of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows as well as a delay in completing a significant SVOD agreement."

Viacom said that the domestic performance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel was "disappointing," but the studio has a "strong slate in the months ahead and looks forward to improvement at Paramount." CEO Philippe Dauman has been holding talks about a possible sale of a minority stake in Paramount.

The company also said Friday that it previously expected to complete "a significant SVOD agreement" in the quarter, but "the recent and highly public governance controversy negatively impacted the timing and its ability to achieve an optimal outcome with partners," a reference to controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and daughter Shari's battle with Dauman and other board members. Viacom didn't provide further details on the SVOD agreement.

Viacom said that it expects domestic ad sales declines for the third quarter to be approximately 4 percent. The company also said it has "substantially completed a very successful annual advertising upfront sales process."

Viacom will provide additional information regarding its results and business outlook during its quarterly earnings conference call on Aug. 4.

Viacom shares were down around 1.8 percent in pre-market trading on Friday, but the stock was slightly higher in early trading.

"We knew that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was trending softer domestically than we anticipated, and well below the 2014 reboot," wrote FBR analyst Barton Crockett. "But Viacom's pre-open warning of a 30 percent-ish year-over-year decline in adjusted earnings per share to $1.00-$1.05 for the June quarter is surprisingly steep. Our estimate for the quarter had been $1.41."

He said the implied year-over-year adjusted operating profit drop of around $300 million was "driven by drops in both film and media networks." Crockett added: "We see these issues as particular to Viacom and not indicative of anything for the rest of the group. Ultimately, Viacom's stock will trend, we believe, more on resolution of control, and potential for restructuring, than on the movie and SVOD outcomes in the June quarter."

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