In the interview, Redstone discussed the growth outlook of Viacom, CBS, international expansion, the overall outlook of the media industry and philanthropy.
DATE: June 6, 2007
PROGRAM: "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo"
TIME: 4:30 PM ET
The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Sumner Redstone, Chairman of Viacom and CBS, on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" today at 4:30PM ET. All references must be sourced to CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."
Mr. SUMNER REDSTONE: Nice to be with you.
BARTIROMO: Let's talk about sort of a status check, if you will. You split the company...
Mr. REDSTONE: Yes.
BARTIROMO: ...18 months ago. Would you do it again and are shareholders better off today than 18 months ago?
Mr. REDSTONE: I would do it again and over and over again and shareholders are definitely better. Let me tell you about it. I had thought about this for about a year without discussing it with anybody. Then I presented it to the board. The board thought about it for months with advisers, decided I was right. What do we have? Today, we have two nimble, focused companies, each concerned with their own challenges, with their own opportunities, and not distracted by the challenges and the opportunities of the other. Two companies led by fantastic managements, Les Moonves, CBS, great executive, Philippe and Tom, great at Viacom. Stocks doing great, stocks making a run a little late now. We have a down market but basically making new highs within the last week of it and going further. Operations are great, moving fast into the digital world. What more could I ask?
BARTIROMO: Yeah, but some might say it hasn't worked. I mean, when you look at the stock prices and you put the companies together, and then you divide it two by one, it's the same price where it was eight months ago.
Mr. REDSTONE: No. But you have to consider this.
BARTIROMO: And you added debt.
Mr. REDSTONE: No! And you have to consider this, so think, Maria. The stock was down 20 percent under prior management. I won't mention names. The stock of Viacom is up 25 to 28 percent in nine months since I put Philippe and Tom in charge. So you have to look at the fore and after. Meanwhile, both stocks in the last week have made new highs. I can't project stock price, you know, that's not allowed. I would hopefully expect they'll go higher.
BARTIROMO: You're always watching the stock price.
Mr. REDSTONE: Right.
BARTIROMO: You like watching the stock price.
Mr. REDSTONE: Well, because the stock price is, in a way, a report card. It's not always accurate but it is a record card on your operation. The operations of both companies are terrific, the stock is terrific and the management is terrific. What more do you want?