Before Its Merger With CBS, Viacom Puts On a Strong Final Act

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Viacom (VIAB) - Get Report , soon to be CBSViacom, on Thursday posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts, thanks in large part to a strong final act within its previously floundering Paramount division, which returned to full-year profitability.

The New York-based media giant posted adjusted earnings of $321 million, or 79 cents a share, vs. $400 million, or 99 cents a share, in the comparable year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of 76 cents a share. Revenue came in at $3.43 billion, below last year's $3.49 billion but ahead of analysts' consensus forecasts of $3.42 billion.

Adjusted operating income rang in at $572 million vs. $671 million in the comparable year-ago quarter. 

The company's Paramount segment, which includes Paramount Pictures as well as cable networks MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, took the spotlight for the quarter, with three straight years of year-over-year adjusted operating income improvement and full-year profitability for the first time in four years, the company said.

The company's closely watched film unit posted its 11th straight quarterly bottom-line improvement, registering a fiscal full-year profit of $78 million, with "Crawl" and "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" generating strong box-office sales, Viacom said.

Paramount is slated to release 17 films in fiscal 2020, including "A Quiet Place Part II," "The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run" and "Top Gun: Maverick."

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