CBS' Massive Third Quarter Write Down

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Media Giant CBS swung to a $12.5 billion dollar loss in the third quarter after taking a massive $14.1 billion non-cash charge, for assets and goodwill lost due to the financial crisis.

But CBSshares rose through the day, CBS closing up, investors apparently relieved that CEO Sumner Redstone reiterated that it will continue to pay its dividend.

And Chairman Sumner Redstone said on the post-earnings conference call that his National Amusements theater chain has "no intention" of selling anymore Viacomor CBS shares. Earlier this month Redstone was forced to sell $233 million of the two company's stock to cover an outstanding debt at Redstone's National Amusements. Redstone is currently trying renegotiate the $800 million due at the end of this year.

    • CBS posts $12.5 bln loss, but commits to dividend

Now to earnings: CBS TV division managed nearly three percent revenue growth, which is impressive, and its acquisition of CNET provided new Internet ad revenue to offset decline in traditional ads. CBS' radio division posted a 12 percent decline in revenue; CBS is selling some radio stations but Moonves didn't say on what time frame. CBS' billboard business, recently its most reliable growth driver, showed a one percent revenue drop and a 48 percent earnings costs, citing higher costs. Barclays analyst Anthony DiClemente says what he thinks CBS really needs is a new revenue stream, namely affiliate fees from networks.

The question for investors now; how much are these negative factors already priced into the stock?

Video: CBS shares sharply higher today despite its Q3 loss, with CNBC's Julia Boorstin and Porter Bibb, MediaTech Capital Partners; and Larry Witt, Morningstar.

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