The media giant has opted to sell some of its China operations after finding it difficult to scale up in the world's second-largest economy, the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Viacom has talked with at least one China entity about the stake sale in the last few months, but there's no guarantee a deal will occur.
The owner of Paramount Pictures film studio, music network MTV and children's entertainment network Nickelodeon has operated in China for more than 20 years. With U.S.-China trade tensions heating up and a slowing Chinese economy taking hold, selling a controlling stake in the country to a local business could help Viacom reduce potential regulatory risks while still allowing for a profit.
Viacom is one company among other multinationals that are facing hurdles in China. McDonald's Corp. (MCD) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) divested from China operations in recent years, the Journal noted.
The Journal reported other large multinational companies that have operated in China for years are also considering stake sales or exits from China.