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Dauman: Viacom Exploring Sale of Paramount Stake

Viacom executive chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman said Tuesday the programmer has started the process to explore opportunities for "a significant strategic minority equity investment" in movie studio Paramount Pictures. Dauman made the announcement at the Jefferies Media & Communications Conference in New York City.

“We have received indications of interest from potential partners seeking a strategic investment in Paramount Pictures and I have decided to pursue discussions with a select group of potential investors,” Dauman said, according to a company statement. “In this time of change and enormous opportunity in our industry, a partnership will bring significant benefit to Paramount and Viacom, both strategically and financially, provide new opportunities for Paramount’s employees and talent, and enhance long-term value for all Viacom shareholders.”

“Paramount Pictures has been a leading motion picture studio for more than a century and is among a select few that has significant reach and scale, a deep library, a robust pipeline with proven global franchises, and a high potential television production operation,”  Dauman added. “In addition, the value of motion picture content continues to increase with the explosion of screens and the rapid expansion of the global theatrical market. This is the perfect time to explore new strategies to capitalize on Paramount’s content expertise and global platform, maximize opportunities for its continued growth, and unlock the value of the business for the benefit of shareholders.”

Viacom has retained PJT Partners as its financial advisor to assist with the process.