Wall Street will be looking to
for a clue to how the second half is shaping up.
The New York-based broadcaster split cleanly with former sibling
at the start of the year in a bid to sharpen its appeal with investors. So far, the break has been good for CBS, up 6% this year, while Viacom has posted a 13% decline.
CBS will get a chance Thursday morning to show investors that it continues to gain traction. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial will be looking for CBS to make 50 cents a share on $3.68 billion in revenue.
The report comes as CBS targets what CEO Les Moonves deems big opportunities. In May, the company sold its Paramount theme parks for $1.24 billion in cash to
. CBS is also in the process of selling some noncore
radio assets in 10 smaller markets so that it can focus on larger ones.
CBS also has moved to trim some staff at the radio division as it continues to struggle with ratings losses associated with Howard Stern's departure to
Now, Moonves says the company is interested in moviemaking, just as private equity interest in film financing is on the upswing. It's that kind of innovation that is boosting interest in the stock even as results remain mostly flat.
"Excluding the Parks from last year's results, we are forecasting revenues of $3.5 billion, flat with prior year, operating income of $751 million, down 6% compared with the prior year; and OIBDA of $860 million, down 8%," writes Prudential analyst Katherine Styponias.
Her revised estimates include a shutdown charge for UPN, which will be merged with the WB network this fall into a new network called the CW, and a decline in radio. Prudential has a $30 price target on the stock.
CBS's upfront sales process was respectably strong for the network, still lauded for its schedule's stability. CBS says it saw low single-digit rate increases during the annual ad marketplace. Outdoor, an underappreciated component of the company's asset mix, continues to perform well and spin off cash. The company has also raised its dividend twice in the last six months.
Opie & Anthony
carnival show has replaced Howard Stern. That seems to be raising the ratings bar in what has proved to be tough segment, but Styponias and other analysts will wait for another ratings period to get more visibility on progress there.
CBS shares fell 37 cents Tuesday to $27.06.