What if you threw a corporate breakup party and nobody came? That's what Viacom
Viacom has been stuck in the mid-30s for about as long as our own Tom Gardner. The move to lump some of its slower-growth properties, including CBS, UPN, and its book-publishing business into a CBS spinoff, hasn't solicited much more than a yawn from the market since the plan was first announced earlier this year. The rest of the company's cable and entertainment assets (including MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, and the Paramount movie studio) will be retained by the company that keeps the Viacom moniker.
The split should take place early next year. Existing shareholders will receive a share in each of the two new companies for each share they own at the time. The market's apathy is likely the result of poorly performing media stocks and the fact that the split doesn't seem to offer much divergence in terms of growth expectations. Yes, the Viacom side appears glitzier and the CBS side is likely to appeal to income investors, but it's not as if growth investors are going to barrel toward Viacom's potential while value investors rally around the CBS cash flow machine.
Viacom would have probably attracted more investor interest if it had subdivided even further into more specialized spinoffs. By lumping that fantasy-football hub of Sportsline.com with CBS Sports, or by splicing off MTV, VH1, and Infinity Broadcasting for music programming, Viacom at least would have given investors more choices to ponder and bid on accordingly. As it stands, folks are simply getting Viacom and Diet Viacom.
Insert yawn here.
No, things aren't going so well for the moribund media stocks lately, but at least some of them are trying. Disney
Come on now, Viacom. Give us all you've got.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has tried to split in two, but it didn't become either one of him. He owns shares of Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.