Redstone dumping family heirloom cinemas

Cash-strapped CBS/Paramount mogul Sumner Redstone is selling some of his 1500 cinema portfolio. National Amusements is controlled by Shari Redstone, his fiercely independent daughter, and the two have agreed to put some of the cinema chain on the sales block in order to release much-needed funds.

As well as CBS/Paramount, Redstone’s empire includes the Viacom/MTV and Nickelodeon businesses. It is reported that a limited sale could realise a couple of hundred million dollars, dependent on how many theatres are actually included in the portfolio to be sold.

Redstone needs to restructure $1.6bn in debt, with about half due on December 19. Shares in Viacom and CBS have fallen 66% and 74% respectively this year, and neither business has been helped by the advertising slump affecting all broadcasters.