Viacom has narrowed the number of bidders for a minority stake in its Paramount Pictures movie studio from more than 40 to a handful and expects to begin negotiations late next month, Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman told analysts on Thursday morning.
"There is strong interest from all around the world," Dauman said on the company's quarterly earnings call. He said he still expected to announce a deal by the end of June, and Viacom will use the proceeds to reduce its debt.
Ahead of the call, Viacom reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, but a drop in domestic ad revenue disappointed investors, who pushed the company's shares down as much as 7 percent. The stock recovered somewhat and was down 2 percent at $42.92 by late morning.