CBS Corp. plans to sell or spin off its radio station group in the coming year, CEO Leslie Moonves said Tuesday during the company’s CBS Investor Day presentation in New York. A sale, swap or spinoff of the 117-station group is among the options being considered, Moonves said.
While the company wants to “unlock value for our shareholders,” Moonves assured the investor crowd, “We will be prudent and judicious as we go, as we are in all such endeavors,” according to a story in Variety.
CBS has been downsizing its radio portfolio in recent years, selling or swapping smaller markets to focus on the largest metros. The company took a $484 million write-down on the value of its radio division in the fourth quarter.
Selling radio would allow CBS to focus on its two premium brands, CBS and Showtime, Moonves said. CBS also operates Simon & Schuster publishing.
Executives at CBS Radio suggested they understood the move and are waiting for next steps. “CBS Radio is a terrific organization, with a tremendous history and a great future,” the division responded in a release. “It makes sense that CBS Corporation, a company that is now focused primarily on premium video content, would choose to unlock the value of its radio operation. While it is still very early in this process, we are enthusiastic about the possibilities that lie ahead, and look forward to competing in this evolving industry with the strongest portfolio of major-market brands in the radio business. Going forward, we will do everything we can to assist in this transformative action and believe it will be to the benefit of our division, our stations and our people.”