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The deal, unveiled on Monday, marks the first sale of the CBS headquarters at 51 West 52nd Street since it opened in 1964. Owner-occupier ViacomCBS will now lease back property on a short-term basis, with the transaction set to close before the end of 2021.
Selling Black Rock is also the latest deal by ViacomCBS to unload non-core assets that do not serve the Hollywood studio’s unfolding streaming focus. ViacomCBS completed earlier sales of CNET and Simon & Schuster to finance its expanding content and streaming strategy.
“This agreement follows the previously announced strategic review of non-core assets that we completed shortly after our merger,” Naveen Chopra, executive vp and CFO at ViacomCBS, said in a statement.
The asset sales have aimed to position ViacomCBS with a structure similar to streaming giant Netflix, which continues to build up its international originals after hitting a subscriber plateau in the U.S.
Wall Street analysts earlier estimated the New York CBS headquarters could raise $1 billion-plus if successfully sold. Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar projected it “could be worth $700 million to $1.2 billion.”
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