Viacom Inc. reported a sharp drop in
fourth-quarter net earnings Wednesday on Internet losses and a
goodwill writedown related to its merger with CBS. Revenues and
cash earnings rose.
The media conglomerate, whose holdings include MTV, Blockbuster,
the Paramount movie studio and Simon & Schuster, reported net
earnings of $30.4 million including the charges, down from $133.1
million a year ago.
Viacom said that its pre-tax cash flow, excluding the $99
million Internet writeoff and other one-time factors, rose 17
percent to $1.36 billion to $1.17 billion, while revenues grew 5
percent to $6.35 billion from $6.04 billion. The year-ago figures
have been adjusted to include the merger with CBS, which closed
Earnings excluding the charges came to $76 million, or 5 cents
per share, above analysts' estimates of 3 cents a share, as
reported by First Call/Thomson Financial.
Shares of Viacom were down $1.64 at $52.07 in morning trading on
the New York Stock Exchange.
Viacom said it expects "modest" growth in the first quarter of
2001 compared to the same period last year, when a boom of
advertising from dot-com companies boosted results across the
For the full year, Viacom had a net loss of $816.1 million due
to merger writedowns and an accounting charge on its film library,
compared to 1999 net earnings of $334 million.
Full-year cash flow rose 18 percent to $5.02 billion from $4.26
billion as revenues rose 8 percent to $23.36 billion from $21.70
billion in 1999.