Viacom stays course amid 'turbulence'


Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman expressed confidence in media performers Monday despite the shock selloff of $233 million worth of CBS and Viacom stock by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements company.

"The obvious market turbulence created a problem for our biggest shareholder, but I am extremely optimistic about the long- and midterm prospects," Dauman said during a MIPCOM keynote speech and interview with The Hollywood Reporter editor Elizabeth Guider.

Pointing out that the stock sold in the two companies was less than the $400 million initially reported, Dauman said he had talked to Redstone before the news was announced.

"We talked very easily — it wasn't one of his happiest days," Dauman said of the chairman and controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. "Everyone knows he loves these stocks, but he's fundamentally very pragmatic and used to dealing with adversity; that is one of his strengths."

On Monday, National Amusements said it sold 7 million Viacom shares and 17 million CBS shares.

After delivering a keynote on creativity in the digital age, Dauman said that the recent selloffs will create some investment opportunities but that companies have to remain focused on growth.

"Market turbulence creates value for those who seek through what are transitory situations of market panic," he said during a Q&A session. "I think we have to focus on building and growing and look beyond the crises, beyond today." (partialdiff)
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