CBS Reports Higher Earnings But No Merger

CBS reported higher second-quarter earnings, but remained quiet about a possible combination with Viacom.

Net earnings rose 10% to $440 million, or $1.17 a share, from $400 million, or $1.05 a share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 10% to $3.81 billion.

Ad revenues increased 7%, thanks in part to broadcasting the NCAA men’s basketball semifinals and championship game during the quarter.

Taking out March Madness, CBS Network ad revenues increased 3%.

Affiliate sales and subscription fee revenue rose 13%.

Operating income for the company’s entertainment group rose 16% to $426 million.

Cable network operating income fell 24% to $185 million because of lower licensing revenues and increased investment in programming.

“CBS delivered another outstanding quarter as we continue to execute on our long-term growth strategy, which is to invest in our premium content and direct-to-consumer streaming services,” said Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO. “We achieved double-digit revenue growth in the second quarter, with increases in each of our three key revenue sources.”

CBS and Viacom are both owned by the family of Sumner and Shari Redstone. The companies have been discussing a combination and with both companies reporting earnings Thursday, there was an expectation that a deal could be announced.

Viacom said it wouldn’t discuss merger and acquisition activity on its call Thursday morning.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.