Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Viacom Activist Wants To Partner With AMC Networks

A Viacom shareholder questions the health of CEO Sumner Redstone and the future of the company.  According to Multichannel, he proposes a merger with AMC Networks as one way to solve Viacom's problems.  But does Viacom's networks, including MTV, VH1, CMT and Spike, bring any synergy to the AMC Networks family?  While AMC has done some previous acquisitions, including Sundance Channel and BBC America, I do not think that such a merger with Viacom has value to AMC.

Comcast, the largest of the MSOs has just announced its move of CMT and Spike from basic to a higher digital tier.  That does not speak well for future subscription growth.  MTV, once a must have network for key demographics, have lost their luster to other networks like the former ABC Family, now Freeform, as well as You Tube and other online websites.  It would require a significant investment to recapture its glory.  And VH1...well, enough said.

Lastly, is AMC Networks more likely a seller than a buyer?  Its owners, Chuck and Jim Dolan, have already sold Cablevision Systems and smaller networks like Fuse.  Jim Dolan might just want to keep his MSG and sports teams and sell off this next piece of their empire.  And for that reason I doubt that AMC would invest in Viacom.