Under Pressure From Shareholders, Viacom May Sell a Stake in Paramount

Viacom has hired PJT Partners Inc. to weigh options for selling a minority stake in its Paramount Pictures unit.
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Viacom Inc. (VIAB) has hired PJT Partners Inc. to weigh options for selling a minority stake in its Paramount Pictures unit. The company's Exeuctive Chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman said at a conference in New York, 'We have been approached by several potential strategic investors in Paramount,' and said such a deal could provide not only financial benefits, but also 'strategic benefit to help drive the growth of Paramount.' Shareholders such as Mario Gabelli's GAMCO Investors Inc. and Eric Jackson's SpringOwl Asset Management LLC have encouraged Viacom to consider selling a stake in the movie studio to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) or Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). It's likely that a report issued privately last week to institutional investors from Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. factored into Viacom's decision to launch a strategic review for Paramount. The Deal's Senior Reporter Lisa Allen has the details from New York.