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ViacomCBS has made it official: The CBS Studios campus has been sold to Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management for $1.85 billion.
The definitive agreement was unveiled on Tuesday after a formal sales process that attracted interest from a number of buyers after the property in an increasingly competitive Los Angeles studio space sector came up for grabs. “This sale is part of an ongoing optimization of ViacomCBS’ real estate and operations portfolio and will allow the company to redeploy capital to strategic growth priorities, including streaming,” Naveen Chopra, executive vp and CFO of ViacomCBS, said in a statement.
The property sits on a 55-acre site in Studio City and consists of over 1 million square feet of space, including 22 stages, production office and support buildings, third-party tenant offices, a purpose-built broadcast center and filmable backlot locations. At closing, CBS Broadcasting will enter into a long-term lease-back of the Broadcast Center, which is home to television stations CBS 2 and KCAL 9.
ViacomCBS will continue to occupy stages and produce content on the lot, as well as enter into a short-term lease-back of certain portions of the property in order to manage the transition of ViacomCBS employees to other locations. “We’re honored to have been selected as the new stewards of CBS Studio Center, one of the most celebrated and successful studios in Los Angeles,” said Michael Hackman founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners, in his own statement.
The transaction is expected to close this year, pending regulatory approvals.
Hedge funds have been on a major studio buying spree of late, including Hackman Capital and Square Mile Capital acquiring Kaufman Astoria Studios, the New York City studio backlot and the original home of Paramount Pictures.
ViacomCBS had been shopping the Studio City lot as part of its plan to offload non-core assets and focus on the streaming space. Earlier, on Aug. 16, real estate firm Harbor Group International bought the Black Rock midtown Manhattan property, known as the CBS building, for $760 million, with ViacomCBS taking out a short-term lease at the location.
Commercial real estate firm JLL oversaw the sale of ViacomCBS’ Radford campus in Studio City. The Hollywood studio also completed earlier sales of CNET and Simon & Schuster to finance its expanding content and streaming strategy.
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