Viacom CEO Reiterates Lack of Interest in Studio Acquisitions

"You’ll never see us with a 'John Carter,'" Philippe Dauman says in lauding Paramount's focus on cost controls.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman on Thursday once again touted recent financial and strategic progress at Paramount Pictures, but reiterated he has no plans to acquire another studio.

Speaking at the 5th annual Gabelli Best Ideas Conference in New York in a webcast session, he said: “A full merger provides one-time benefits but creates other issues.” He cited a possible lack of focus by expanding a film slate. Paramount has focused its releases on a few tentpole franchise films and movies leveraging such Viacom brands as Nickelodeon each year.

Dauman previously signaled that Viacom wasn't interested in acquiring Sony's film unit if it became available.

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Signaling that Paramount will continue to keep a close eye on expenses, he also said that "you have to control the cost” in the film industry.

In a reference to a recent failed Disney bet, Dauman said: "You’ll never see us with a John Carter.”

Asked if Paramount could make a film version of Book of Mormon from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Dauman didn't respond directly. “We love working with the two of them,” he said though. "We always look for opportunities to work with them.”

The Viacom also reiterated that the entertainment conglomerate is increasingly looking for movies that can boost sales of brand products and merchandise. He called licensing "a wonderful, high-margin" business.

Twitter: @georgszalai