CBS earnings beat: $1.20 per share, vs expected EPS of $1.14

Key Points
  • CBS reports better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as quarterly revenue grew 11 percent year over year.
  • Chairman and CEO Les Moonves said CBS' subscriber base "continues to grow at an accelerated pace."
  • The boards of CBS and Viacom have formed exploratory committees to look into a potential reunion of the two companies.
CBS beats the Street

CBS reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations on Thursday.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected:

  • EPS: $1.20 vs. $1.14 expected according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $3.92 billion vs. $3.70 billion expected according to Thomson Reuters
  • Entertainment revenue: $2.82 billion vs. $2.59 billion expected by StreetAccount
  • Cable networks revenue: $547 million vs. $540.1 million expected by StreetAccount
  • Publishing revenue: $235 million vs. $216.5 million expected by StreetAccount
  • Local media revenue: $450 million vs. $474.1 million expected by StreetAccount

In the year-ago quarter, CBS reported adjusted earnings of $1.11 per share on revenue of $3.52 billion.

The stock gained about 2 percent in after-hours trade following the report.

Chairman and CEO Les Moonves said that the company's "total subscriber base continues to grow at an accelerated pace." He said that streaming services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT now have nearly 5 million subscribers combined. Moonves also said that CBS is confident that it will exceed its goal for 8 million subscribers by 2020.

In a Thursday earnings call, Moonves highlighted CBS' deals with streaming services like Hulu and YouTube TV.

"These streaming services pay us more than we get from traditional bundles and are having a bigger impact on our affiliate and subscription revenue all the time. The even better news is while all this is happening, our revenue from traditional MVPDs is strong with a lot of room to grow," he said.

CBS said that its affiliate and subscription fee revenues grew 20 percent during the fourth quarter and 26 percent for the full year.

The broadcast media company's results come amid a flurry of consolidation in its industry, including chatter about CBS' potential reunion with Viacom.

CNBC reported Wednesday that the CEOs of the companies met Friday to discuss the potential deal. Sources told CNBC that Moonves and Viacom's Bob Bakish had requested due-diligence materials.

Earlier this month, the boards of both companies announced they had formed special committees to look into the possibility of recombining. Both CBS and Viacom said, however, that a deal is not guaranteed.

If made, the deal would likely be structured as CBS, with a market value of $22 billion, buying Viacom, with a market value of $13 billion.

CBS and Viacom were split more than a decade ago by media mogul Sumner Redstone. His daughter, Shari Redstone, has reportedly been a major proponent of recombining CBS and Viacom.

The Redstones have controlling stakes in both CBS and Viacom through their privately held National Amusements.

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