Redstone: Bank talks going 'smoothly'

National Amusements still exploring possible asset sales

NEW YORK -- As Sumner Redstone's holding firm National Amusements explores possible asset sales, shares of CBS Corp. and Viacom rebounded Thursday after the controlling shareholder reiterated that he wouldn't sell more stock in the entertainment companies to meet debt obligations.

"I am pleased that talks with National Amusements banks and noteholders are proceeding in a smooth and constructive manner," he said. "It is important to understand that the value of NA's assets well exceeds its debt and NA has no intention of selling any stock of either Viacom or CBS."

CBS shares had lost about 15% and Viacom about 10% on Wednesday as they closed at historic lows amid continuing fears that Redstone might have to resolve NA's debt issues via fire sales.

Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield suggested Wednesday that Redstone sell Viacom because it is his most sellable asset.

Greenfield and others have suggested that NA could sell its stake in Midway Games, sell a stake in itself or sell all or part of its theater circuit to satisfy lenders seeking security in an uncertain market. The theaters option could worsen Redstone's conflict with his daughter Shari, who runs the circuit.

CBS Class B shares closed up 5.9% at $6.43. Viacom rose 7.4% to $16.26.
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