ViacomCBS Pulls Guidance as Coronavirus Slams Content

ViacomCBS joins the growing list of companies yanking their quarterly and full-year guidance amid uncertainty over the duration of the coronavirus epidemic.
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ViacomCBS  (VIACA) - Get Report on Friday joined the growing list of companies that have yanked their quarterly and full-year guidance as uncertainty over the duration of the coronavirus epidemic and its economic impact continues to cloud earnings and revenue projections.

In a statement, ViacomCBS said that despite an increase in viewership across its broadcast and cable properties, production delays and cancellations of theater and live events to recorded series to sporting events has prompted it to withdraw its previous 2020 guidance.

The New York-based company did reaffirm expectations to hit $750 million in merger-related "cost synergies" over the next three years. The company also reaffirmed its expectation to have approximately 16 million domestic streaming subscribers in pay and approximately 30 million monthly active users on its Pluto TV service by year-end.

Nonetheless, “the impact of Covid-19 on ViacomCBS’ businesses - including the postponement of theatrical releases domestically and internationally, cancellation or rescheduling of sports events for which the company had broadcast rights, and production delays in television and filmed entertainment programming - could be material to the company’s operating results, cash flows and financial position,” the company said.

Separately, ViacomCBS reiterated its access to a committed $3.5 billion revolving credit facility with a maturity in January 2025 which is available for “general corporate purposes and to support commercial paper outstanding, if any.”

As of Thursday, the company has not drawn on its revolving credit facility and had approximately $932 million of short-term loans, including $732 million of commercial paper outstanding and $200 million of short-term bank borrowings. 

The company has upcoming corporate debt maturities in the next 12 months of $300 million in February 2021 and $500 million in March 2021.

To be sure, ViacomCBS was already facing a murky outlook before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Shares of the newly minted media behemoth plunged in mid-February after the company posted a fiscal fourth-quarter loss, as costs associated with its recent re-marriage failed to offset stable advertising revenue. 

Shares of ViacomCBS were down 0.74% at $17.38 in premarket trading on Friday.