National Amusements cinemas to be sold

19 theaters in U.K. could be sold in debt restructuring

Media mogul Sumner Redstone has agreed with his daughter, Shari Redstone, to sell some of National Amusements' 1,500 cinemas rather than the entire division, the Financial Times said citing people familiar with the matter.

If lenders agree, part of the group and 19 theaters in the U.K. could be sold as part of a debt-restructuring to avoid selling more shares in CBS Corp. and Viacom, the paper said.

Redstone's National Amusements, which owns controlling stakes in CBS and Viacom, faces a deadline to repay some $800 million in debt by mid-December. It has a total of about $1.6 billion in debt outstanding.

The due date for the maturing debt could be extended if lender talks progress, people familiar with the matter have said, the paper reported.

The value of any partial sale of National Amusements was not immediately clear. The entire chain is valued at $500 million-$700 million by analysts and at about $1 billion by Redstone, according to the paper.

The privately-held company is expected to keep theaters in the New England area, where it is based and which account for about half of company's value, the paper said.

National Amusements had already sold about $230 million of shares of CBS and Viacom to help meet debt payments, and has been in talks with banks in hopes of avoiding a debt crunch.

Sumner's troubles have also involved a public dispute with his daughter Shari Redstone -- once an heir apparent to his conglomerate -- over corporate governance.

National Amusements could not be reached for comment.
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