CNBC News Releases

Maria Bartiromo Interviews Sumner Redstone, Chairman of Viacom & CBS, on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo" (Transcript Included)

Jennifer Dauble

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."

MARIA BARTIROMO, host: Sumner, nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.

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...


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?

BARTIROMO: All right. Some people might say, look, these two companies now are almost competing in certain ways.


BARTIROMO: CBS wants to get a movie studio now. Then you've got Viacom suing YouTube for a billion dollars. CBS is doing deals with YouTube.

Mr. REDSTONE: No. Wait a minute, now, Maria, a minute. I won't discuss the lawsuit too much with Google because it's pending. Our deal is we want Viacom and CBS, we want our product in every platform, every legitimate platform. But we expect to get paid for it. And you understand, of course, that the protection of proprietary rights is critical, not only to the entertainment industry, but to the economy. CBS got paid, they got paid for what they did with Google, and they really did it with an advertiser, rather than Google. There's nothing wrong with that. If you get paid, do it.

BARTIROMO: OK. So you would--you would have that arrangement, then, with Viacom? I mean, because it seems like CBS is willing to do deals with YouTube.

Mr. REDSTONE: Partly, partly. Viacom is willing to do deals with any legitimate distributor. They've done deals recently with Joost, they've done deals with Yahoo! And should that unnamed company want to do a deal that respects and reflects the value of our content, Viacom will be ready.

BARTIROMO: And so they are respecting CBS' content?

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, I don't know for how much respect they have for their content, but on that one particular deal, what I say is CBS got paid and they got paid by the advertiser, not by Google. But getting paid is the name of the game. We have spent decades creating the most valuable content in the world. As you know, Viacom is the only pure content media company in the world, And our content is valuable, you know what it is. We expect to get paid for it and we will get paid for it.

BARTIROMO: What are you expecting out of this lawsuit?

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, you know, I really don't want to discuss the lawsuit but say hypothetically, someone files such a lawsuit, without referring to Viacom, what would they expect? Money? They would expect the protection of their rights for the future and they might expect a deal that reflected the value of their content. Those are our mights.

BARTIROMO: Let me talk to you a little about the news this week, the Russia licensing deal.


BARTIROMO: It seems that CBS and Viacom are on different sort of paths in some regard.

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, they have to--you must remember, the assets of these two companies are very different. They basically--Viacom is a niche programmer with, you know, great programming like MTV, VH1, you know, Comedy Central, Spike, Google. I mean, who--did I say Google? That was a google.

BARTIROMO: That was a Freudian slip.

Mr. REDSTONE: No. But no, I've been--but CBS is a broadcaster, broadcasts to big audiences. And think about CBS. The number one drama, "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "CSI: New York." The number one comedy, "Two and a Half Men," number one reality show, "Survivor." Number one news show, "60 Minutes." They're both doing great. Any investor who isn't satisfied should talk to me.

BARTIROMO: What's the international strategy at this point? So this week, you announced MTV sold a majority stake in the Russian joint venture, meanwhile CBS is buying into India. Tell me where you go internationally.

Mr. REDSTONE: Hang on. Let me tell you first about Russia. It was a drag-along deal. We got up, $193 million, a lot of money, and we still maintain our presence with an exclusive license which pays us revenue every year. Now, India. In India, we made a deal with a very respected company called T18D. And that's going to be called--it's an Indian company. We contributed on Indian channels. VH1, Nickelodeon, MTV. We have a 50/50 partnership. We will now be known as TV Viacom. Now, we have great hopes there. Why? Think of the population of India. And more important, even, the largest youth population in the world is in India, so India's a great market for us. We're already moving ahead. We're going to do a Hindi channel. As soon as we get there, we move ahead. That's true everywhere.

BARTIROMO: What are you going to do with MTV ratings? I mean, MTV was a global powerhouse. The ratings are down. And sure, the India story sounds like a good one. But you've got to get, somehow, the ratings back up on MTV.

Mr. REDSTONE: MTV ratings are now rising. They were very bad in the last quarter, they rose significantly in the first quarter. We're doing everything we can. Let me tell you some of the things we're doing that are extremely interesting. We're congregating our various brands around a particular demographic and then we're selling that demographic to advertisers so the advertisers can reach cross-brand demographic with one message. Pretty clever. No, we're doing everything we should. I think you'll see them rise. Meanwhile, you know what? I have to tell you his story, OK? When I acquired Viacom, everyone said MTV was a fad. Nickelodeon would never make it. Well, I saw MTV as a cultural channel that would travel. Nickelo--I knew people were interested in kids and I also saw something very important. Only 5 percent of the world's eyeballs were in North America, and I determined to aggressively drive those brands all over the world, which we have. Today, you know that fad reaches a billion people? A billion people. MTV has 55 out of this channels. Nickelodeon has 35. We're pretty satisfied with what's happening and it will continue.

BARTIROMO: No doubt about it, while you try to keep it going.

Mr. REDSTONE: I'll try. Right.

BARTIROMO: Right? People are worried that...

Mr. REDSTONE: Yeah. How do you keep it going? I travel to China. I've been there seven times in recent years. Do you know that only our brands can be seen in China? You see MTV and Nickelodeon all over China. You can't see the others expect in compounds or hotels. So it was out of a deal I made recently. Nickelodeon animation is broadcast to 125 million homes in China. We have a joint venture with Beijing. We have the only branded channel in China with is MTV China. We have a deal to co-produce programming, children's and adult programming, with Shanghai Media. We even had a deal for an equity interest, which is on hold as a result of a new, tougher regulatory environment check. We are treated like no one else in China.

BARTIROMO: What about Europe?

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, in Europe, it's great. We're doing very well. I think I have been in every city in every country. We're now in 160 countries. Look what's happened in those 20 years. I've been in every city in every country selling Viacom. As Philippe says, planting the Viacom flag. I've just been in Turkey, where we opened a 24-hour channel in Turkey. I've just been in Dubai and Kuwait. I travel the world, planting the flag, and nobody--I tell you, we're too far advanced. Nobody will ever catch up with us.

BARTIROMO: Sumner, how do you think broadly about traditional vs. digital? Let me get your though on this for a minute because some people say, yeah, the ratings were down at MTV, but it's not necessarily a programming issue, it's a secular issue. It's that the young generation, the MTV generation, is not necessarily not liking your programming, they are spending less time watching TV and they are on the Internet.

Mr. REDSTONE: OK. Our experience is to the contrary. Tubes can work 48 hours a day, digital and linear programming. So we don't believe that. And we don't believe people are leaving MTV. I mean, what you may have seen is something very temporary. One does not cannibalize the other. As digital grows, remember, digital is very small, now. As digital grows, the world will expand. It will not cannibalize linear programming. And that's our view. And history will demonstrate that. Every time there's been a new technology, the world caught up, it didn't destroy the old.

BARTIROMO: So how do you capitalize on that? I mean, let's face it. You've been buying back a lot of stock at Viacom.


BARTIROMO: Four billion program--$3 billion program, you're almost done with. Now you're announcing a $4 billion buyout program.

Mr. REDSTONE: Why? Why?

BARTIROMO: Is that money better used buying digital property?

Mr. REDSTONE: Pardon me. Why? Because we're doing so well, we have enormous free cash flow at Viacom as well as at CBS. We're not just borrowing the money, we're making so much money, we have so much free cash flow, we owe it to the stockholders to use that money to enhance the value of their stock. Remember, every time you buy a share of stock, you increase the earnings per share of the stock. That's good for stockholders. At both companies, we have one major commitment: to enhance shareholder value.

BARTIROMO: How about using the money to buy...(unintelligible)

Mr. REDSTONE: And we are. We've bot a lot of--you saw that just the other day, CBS spent $280 million for a music--we bought a lot of digi--Neopet...(unintelligible)...voice range. We've bought many properties. We are not, however, committed to doing any major transaction. These are cutting-edge deals. We'd like to get the companies when they're in their infancy and then we'll grow them as we know how to.

BARTIROMO: So how do you continue to ramp up digital so that that offsets any slowdown in ad dollars from traditional media?

Mr. REDSTONE: Here's what--here's what I don't think many people know. Do you know what the number one entertainment digital company is? It's Viacom. Viacom today is the number one digital entertainment company. Viacom will double its revenues this year from digital, with, I don't know, if you aren't satisfied, you should be.

BARTIROMO: So that means you're going to be making more acquisitions, then, in digital?

Mr. REDSTONE: We're going to be building our own Web sites, creating new experiences there, but at the same time, we'll be making deals with companies Joost, Yahoo! and other credible companies who are willing to pay us for what our company--what our content is worth.

BARTIROMO: Well, you need more digital properties to have scale vs...

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, we're on the lookout. We consider all properties, including digital properties, all the time. We never rule anything out. We look at them. We don't buy anything. We buy those that we think will best fit with what we have and will best enhance the value of our company and a value for our shareholders.

BARTIROMO: Let me turn to transition ownership issues, Sumner. You're 83 years old.

Mr. REDSTONE: No, I am not!

BARTIROMO: Eight-two years old.

Mr. REDSTONE: How old do I look?

BARTIROMO: You do not look 82. But are you 82?

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, give me a number. I'm not going to ask for 20! How about 67?

BARTIROMO: Sixty-five, how's that?

Mr. REDSTONE: I'll take it.

BARTIROMO: But truly, you've been very philanthropic.


BARTIROMO: What do you want your legacy to be? Philanthropy or media mogul?

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, in the first place, I hate the world mogul. Mogul, to me, implies...

BARTIROMO: Media giant.

Mr. REDSTONE: That's a little better. But how about king or emperor?

BARTIROMO: King of the hill, yeah, that's good.

Mr. REDSTONE: I don't think you have to be one or the other. I've enjoying giving money away, particularly since, unlike others, I didn't inherit it. I worked for every dollar I have. And it makes it sweeter to give money away and really, I know it sounds maybe reversely arrogant. I get more pleasure out of giving it than you can imagine. So I'm happy to do it. I don't even look at it as philanthropy. I look at it as a reward for me.

BARTIROMO: So it sounds like the legacy is both.

Mr. REDSTONE: Yes, it is.


Mr. REDSTONE: I think I've accomplished a small thing in this industry...(unintelligible). Yes, I would like--I won't be a hypocrite--to be remembered for that. But legacy is a big part of my life. I mean, philanthropy is a big part of my life.

BARTIROMO: So here you are, 82 years old, looking 65...

Mr. REDSTONE: We agreed on 67.

BARTIROMO: Sixty-seven.

Mr. REDSTONE: You know, you're double-crossing me.

BARTIROMO: But you're controlling, basically, three publicly traded companies.

Mr. REDSTONE: Yes, I am.

BARTIROMO: OK. CBS, Viacom and Midway.


BARTIROMO: Do you have a transition and a successor plan?

Mr. REDSTONE: First thing is wake up. I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be here for a long, long time, so I don't have to plan too intently. You know, my daughter is vice chairman of CBS and Viacom, president, and she's a very viable candidate, in my opinion. On the other hand, my feeling is that ultimately, the boards of the companies should decide who succeeds me.

BARTIROMO: Is it fair to say, though, that your daughter Sherry will take over the 80 percent boarding control of the stock?

Mr. REDSTONE: She does--in my...

BARTIROMO: Yes, yours.

Mr. REDSTONE: My stock? I can't say because that's determined by my will. So I can't really tell you the inside of my will. But Sherry already owns 20 percent of National, she's president of National, she's vice chairman of both companies. She is a credible candidate but I insist that good governance would require that the companies decide who they want to succeed me if I ever decide to go.

BARTIROMO: But the idea of voting power, I mean, we're watching this whole story play out now with Dow Jones and News Corp.


BARTIROMO: You know, from a shareholder perspective, is it a good thing that so much boarding control of the company is in the hands of one person? Wouldn't your stock go up if people thought you were open to a sale, if people thought you were going to lessen your control?

Mr. REDSTONE: No. Pardon me, pardon me. The interesting thing is that Viacom B, the non-voting stock, usually does better than the voting stock. Control is everything. You want to know why? Ask Ted Turner. Control is everything. I've used that control always for the benefit of the shareholders. I never put my interests ahead of--and I mean that. You know, I worked for the company for 13 years without even getting paid, you know? I don't seen any harm in control. The issue is how you utilize it. If you utilize it for selfish purposes, it's terrible. If you utilize it for the benefit of the stockholders, it's terrific.

BARTIROMO: Would you consider taking one of these companies private?

Mr. REDSTONE: You know, that has been suggested to me and to Philippe and to Les. At the present time, we really like the companies the way they are. As I said, they're doing very well. Their operations are great, the stock is doing well. Would we someday consider other alternatives? Yes, but certainly not on the immediate horizon.

BARTIROMO: So private equity clearly would like to take one of these companies?

Mr. REDSTONE: If we decided to take one of these companies private, there'd be so much private equity offered to us, we'd have trouble. Why? The companies are great, they really are. And the management is great. You know, I've often said it's what management brings to the assets of a company that separate the winners from the losers. And these companies are winners, a lot of times because of their management.

BARTIROMO: But don't you think that the stock would go up if, in fact, there was a feeling that you were considering this?

Mr. REDSTONE: Yeah, but I'm not going to do anything to move the stock. That's not my job. My job is to see that the companies operate at full power and that they do well for the stockholders. I'm not going to spread a story that something might or might not happen in order to enhance the stock. That would be inappropriate. But I say again, could it happen? Sure. We look at all alternatives. But on the immediate horizon, I don't see it because we all love the companies the way they are because they're doing well.

BARTIROMO: What do you think about News Corp trying to get Dow Jones right now?

Mr. REDSTONE: You know, I happen to be a great admirer of Rupert and I consider him a great friend. But I don't know enough--know really enough about the economic and political implications of that transaction to say whether it will happen or not. Money does speak, though, but then principle speaks, too.

BARTIROMO: Well, would you be interested in Dow Jones?

Mr. REDSTONE: No. The newspaper business, it's a great paper, I read it every day, but the news business is not a growing business. We only interested in businesses that can grow quickly, and that's not one. But for Murdoch, of course, he's been in that business all his life, so it's understandable why he would go for it.

BARTIROMO: What about doing some kind of a partnership with Rupert on MySpace? Wouldn't something digital make sense?

Mr. REDSTONE: In the first place, we once lost MySpace, as you know, to Rupert. I was very sad at the time. But there are a lot of new MySpaces in the market now and we're looking at all of them. MySpace is not the only MySpace in the world in which we live.

BARTIROMO: Prices are going up after that deal.

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, I know, but they might come down. We'll have to see how the deal actually works.

BARTIROMO: Is that the beauty of the Internet, in your view right now, the social spaces?

Mr. REDSTONE: I think that's a great part of the beauty. People want to interact, provide their own programming. It's all good. You know, one of the things I love about this industry in which I've lived so long, it's exciting, it's evolving. Sometimes it's revolutionary. Things are happening that are interesting. And in the area of do, well, we really don't know what it's going to look like in five years. We know it's growing, we know we're participating, we know we're doing everything we can. As I said, our revenues will double in 2007. But we don't know what the look of it will be five years from now, except that it will be bigger.

BARTIROMO: Do you think the investor base has changed for CBS and Viacom? I mean, people are now wondering, OK, where's the growth company? Eighteen months ago, when you set out on this plan, you said Viacom is the growth company. And then you're seeing all this buy back of stock, you're seeing CBS raise the dividend. Which is the growth company? Which is the value company?

Mr. REDSTONE: I never thought, never, that Les' company would be a non-growth company. Anyone who knows Les, who knows he has it, couldn't believe that. There may be more growth opportunities concerning the nature of the assets for Viacom, but both companies are doing well. Look, CBS raises its dividend every quarter. CBS just did an enormous--is doing an enormous buyback. CBS is, like Viacom, committed to enhancing the value of shareholders. I don't think there's any company in the world that works harder than Viacom and CBS to do what's right for their shareholders. That's always on our minds.

BARTIROMO: What are they going to do to accelerate growth?

Mr. REDSTONE: What are they going to do? Well, which one you talking about?


Mr. REDSTONE: You can see CBS right now. Do you know you get CBS 24 hours a day? They're also moving to all platforms. Look, Viacom is all over the world. And I have traveled all over the world for Viacom. Don't rule out CBS. CBS is successfully in China. CBS just did an underground railway deal in London. I went to Dubai, primarily to talk to an old friend, the crown prince. He is an old friend. You know, Dubai went from a desert to a construction site.


Mr. REDSTONE: You can't move. So he was talking about building six and eight-lane highways. And the possibility that CBS could do very well in the build...(unintelligible) in Dubai. So what? I talked to Les about. He has a team there. That's what we do. We try every way to enhance our business and our revenues.

BARTIROMO: So there's articles, you know, about you wanting to perhaps look at Les Moonves' contract now. I mean, is this partly tied to the fact that you didn't think CBS was a non-grower? You just said that yourself.

Mr. REDSTONE: No. I don't know where you're going with this one. I don't examine Les' contract. Les has a good contract, he's there for a long time, and he's told me that he will never leave as long as I'm alive, which is another reason I have to live forever. So Les is great. I don't examine his contract. I know what his contract is. I think he earns every dollar he gets.

BARTIROMO: Well, there was so much drama over...

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, no. The reason was that I changed the nature of my contract to take less cash and more equity. But every person's circumstance is different. Some people need the cash. I didn't.

BARTIROMO: There was so much drama over the firing of Tom Freston. Why did you only give him eight months on the job running Viacom? He was here for 20 years. Everyone was shocked by it.

Mr. REDSTONE: Now, first, I'd rather talk about the future than the past. I have great respect for Tom but he wasn't there eight months because he was doing the same thing for a long time before when he had the same assets under his control. So let's clear that up. He wasn't there for eight months.

BARTIROMO: Fair enough.

Mr. REDSTONE: Now, OK. Furthermore, did I like doing that? No. I have one commitment and that's to do what I know is best for Viacom. It had little to do with Tom. I determined, the board determined, the best people to lead Viacom were Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley. When they were my deputies, was a most successful period in the history of Viacom. The stock tripled. I know them well, the board knew them, the board decided that we did the right thing. It is not a reflection on Tom, who did a great job. I like Tom. I cannot operate on who I like or dislike. I have to operate what is good for Viacom, and the decision was made that way.

BARTIROMO: Of course. What about the film studio, Paramount? A lot of people talking about the fact that you've added a lot of talent, and margins are still below...(unintelligible)

Mr. REDSTONE: Well, pardon me. Paramount is on a...(unintelligible). The acquisition of Dreamworks was one of the best deals we, I ever made in my life. The Dreamworks pictures, like "Dreamgirls," like "Blades of Glory," like this horror picture they have, all doing extremely well. And watch...

BARTIROMO: They've got "Transformers" coming out.

Mr. REDSTONE: Watch, watch. "Transformers" will be a giant. And watch this. We're only $40 million behind Sony in market share. While "Transformers" is playing, Paramount from near the bottom to the number one studio in market share. That's a prediction; bank on it.

BARTIROMO: OK, good. I'm going to bank on it. Let's...

Mr. REDSTONE: No, they're doing wonderfully at the studios. They really are.

BARTIROMO: Let's talk about what else you're doing. You've been traveling all around.


BARTIROMO: You're controlling these three companies. How do you do it, Sumner?

Mr. REDSTONE: I love--I love what I do. You know, I get--I came back from China recently, true story, I had a few people with me, younger than I am. They all went to sleep. I played tennis the day I got back. I have a lot of energy, I love what I do, I'm excited by what I do. That has a lot to do with my energy.


Mr. REDSTONE: And also, eat right foods and I exercise every day.

BARTIROMO: And you're really focused on that, taking care of yourself?

Mr. REDSTONE: I do. I think if I don't take care of myself, nobody else well.

BARTIROMO: Do you...

Mr. REDSTONE: And you remember that.


Mr. REDSTONE: I send you that, I won't mention it.


Mr. REDSTONE: (Unintelligible) can interview me every day or every month, every year.

BARTIROMO: Thank you. I would love that. People are saying, `Look, Sumner has to control everything.' You just said it yourself, control, control, control. Are you a control freak?

Mr. REDSTONE: I don't like the world freak.

BARTIROMO: Well, you know, are you so controlling that you have to dominate everything?

Mr. REDSTONE: No. I have to--no. See, there's a difference between control and dominate. Let me explain it to you. I control, let's say Viacom and CBS. But I do not intrude. Les calls me every day, whether he's going to sell a radio station, a television station...(unintelligible). By the way, he does a great job with all of it. And asks my opinion. And I don't insist that he call me. Philippe calls me sometimes twice a day, depending on what--the India deal, he discussed that with me and the strategy for weeks before we did it. I do not intrude. I do not demand this. They think it's in their interest to talk to me and maybe they believe, after centuries in the media industry, I have some guidance that's worthwhile to offer.

BARTIROMO: We--all of us in the business, are worried about getting paid, about making sure content is used but used for a price.


BARTIROMO: You're doing business in China. How do you justify that? Are they stealing content?

Mr. REDSTONE: No, no, no. Please. Let me tell you about China.

BARTIROMO: Tell me about China.

Mr. REDSTONE: I have gone to China at least seven or eight times as I travel the world in the last few years. China's become an extremely important market for us. And my job, you have to understand, in China, is to create relationships of friendship and respect and trust. And that's what I've been doing. I know personally every minister in China. We don't bring New York or Europe to China, their music, we bring China to the rest of the world.

BARTIROMO: But are they stealing content?

Mr. REDSTONE: They're--listen! Let me tell my story. You can tell yours in another interview.

BARTIROMO: When you interview me.

Mr. REDSTONE: No, but seriously, they've--they respect us because of that, that we create Chinese music. We have--in China, you will see MTV and Nickelodeon in millions of homes. No other company can say that. You'll only see the other brands in hotels or compounds. That's because I've spent so much time developing these relationships. (Unintelligible)...used to say, `Sumner, you're my ambassador to the rest of the world, and me meant it. Today, not only do you see that, today, Nickelodeon animation, as a result of a deal I made with CCTV, TV is broadcast to 125 million homes. We have a joint venture with Beijing, we have the only branded channel in China, MTV China. We have a deal with Shanghai Media to co-produce children's and adult programs. And by the waywe're the first company to be allowed--and I'm to qualify it--to have an equity interest in a Chinese media company, Shanghai Media, that's now on hold as a result of the new tougher regulatory environment in China. But I will tell you this: We're treated better than anyone else, I had a big delegation in my home the other day, and they said, `Sumner, come to China and meet the new president. China will be open for you and your companies.' And I trust that.


Final question, and this is a follow-up to you saying, look, at this time, we're not going to consider doing anything private. Is anything for sale? Look at Clear Channel Communications, being sold for 12 times cash flow. Whynot sell outdoor? Why not sell radio?

Mr. REDSTONE: Outdoor is a vastly growing business, growing here and overseas. It's one of the best businesses that CBS has. And as I told you, we have opportunities everywhere in the world. China, Dubai. Why should we sell it? Radio, while not growing fast, radio gives us a billion dollars a year. How do you think we pay those dividends? We pay them largely as a result of the success of radio. So that's why investors love CBS. They have different reasons for loving each company, but let me tell you, both companies are loved. I love them, you've got to love them, investors love them. So the radio is important, too. When they have some--look, CBS sold assets. They sold the right radio stations, the sold the right television stations. They sold the parks. You know, I had a friend who was one of bidders, and you know what he said to me? `I cannot believe CBS got what they got for those parks.' So we do sell some non-growth assets, and that's attributable to Les. Les is a great manager. And if he wants to go into the film business, I will support him. You know why? He's never done anything wrong.

BARTIROMO: Even because it's competing with Viacom?

Mr. REDSTONE: Look. These companies were born to compete. One very clear statement that was made when the companies were created was that they had the right to compete with each other, although Les has a much more modest view about the films he's going to make than Paramount does, totally different. However, if they want to compete, I believe, and you know, competition improves the companies. It hones the instinct of the other company to compete and compete successfully. I love competition on a fair playing ground. And if the playing ground isn't fair, we know how to make it fair.

BARTIROMO: Have you heard from Imus? How involved were you in the decision to take him off the air?

Mr. REDSTONE: None. Only to the extent of Les discussed it with me. And others tried to influence me. But I felt that was the job of Les Moonves as the CEO and I said to Les, `It's your decision,' and I believe, though, it was a difficult decision, for obvious reasons, he made the only decision he could make. He made an appropriate decision.

BARTIROMO: Sumner, would you like to add anything else?

Mr. REDSTONE: Yeah. It's been so pleasant to see you. You look so well.

BARTIROMO: Thank you very much.

Mr. REDSTONE: More beautiful than ever.

BARTIROMO: Thank you for joining us. Great to talk to you.

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