ViacomCBS to Sell its Iconic CBS Studio Center for $1.85 Billion
When Viacom and CBS merged to become ViacomCBS, it was a signal that big companies were ready to compete on
When Viacom and CBS merged to become ViacomCBS, it was a signal that big companies were ready to compete on the streaming world stage, and they would get creative to do so. ViacomCBS has quickly restructured itself and become a major player, with streaming platform Paramount + offering an impressive variety of content that pulled users in who weren’t quite as enthusiastic about the predecessor CBS streaming app. Now, ViacomCBS has announced that it will be selling its iconic city lot CBS Studio Center, for an impressive $1.85B.
ViacomCBS to Sell Iconic Studio
ViacomCBS isn’t just playing around, they plan to compete with streaming giants like Amazon Prime and Netflix. The sale of the iconic lot will give them a much-needed cash injection just in time to capitalize on the momentum they’ve gained during the pandemic. Over the Summer, ViacomCBS began signaling that it was planning to divest some of its real estate holdings. Per Variety, “‘This sale is part of an ongoing optimization of ViacomCBS’s real estate and operations portfolio and will allow the company to redeploy capital to strategic growth priorities, including streaming,’ CFO Naveen Chopra said in a statement.”
The 55-acre Los Angeles lot will be sold to a partnership operated by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management. Variety adds, “CBS Studio Center comprises more than 1 million square feet of space, including 22 stages, production office and support buildings, third-party tenant offices, a purpose-built broadcast center and filmable backlot locations.”
Viacom + CBS
This newest sale comes on the heels of a big move in July, wherein ViacomCBS sold CBS New York’s headquarters in the Black Rock skyscraper for $760 million. It’s all a part of the company’s plans to have more flexibility as streaming services have their day in the sun.
The merge between Viacom and CBS came in 2019, when both companies saw the writing on the wall about the rise of SVOD platforms and wanted a way to compete with agility. In 2019, GBH reported, “The move is intended to enable the blended company valued at about $30 billion to fight off bulked up competitors and a new threat from digital rivals with well-financed streaming services.
Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish is to oversee the new company, which will be called ViacomCBS. The deal would combine such well known entertainment brands as CBS and Showtime with Viacom’s Paramount television and movie studios, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV.
CBS also owns the book publisher Simon & Schuster. Current CBS CEO Joe Ianiello is to oversee the former CBS properties under Bakish.
‘Our unique ability to produce premium and polar content for global audiences at scale – for our platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for tomorrow,’ Bakish said in a statement.”
The Rise of Streaming Giants
As it turned out, Viacom and CBS merged just in time. Shortly after they combined to prepare to take on all streaming comers, the pandemic hit. Streaming services became lifelines for people stuck at home, and SVOD subscriptions soared.
Companies were forced to quickly adapt to the streaming boom or sink, and ViacomCBS in its combined state was in a perfect position to adapt. Since the start of the pandemic, original content has become the name of the game and ViacomCBS’s combined platform – called Paramount+ – has been well-poised to compete.
All across the business world, streaming services have been making big moves and partnerships in an effort to get on top. Amazon Prime has come out swinging with a bevy of original content intended to rival Netflix, which is currently producing the most buzz-worthy original work.
ViacomCBS’s moves to get some free cash and streamline their portfolios suggests they’re diving deeper into the world of original content and will likely take on Amazon and Netflix soon. It’s an exciting signal for Paramount + fans; more money means more potential. The iconic city lot, first built in 1928 has played an important role in history. Over the decades it has played home to mega-hits like Gunsmoke, Gilligan’s Island, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Seinfeld and more. But now it’s time to pass the torch and take the money to create more opportunities. It will be fascinating to see what ViacomCBS does with another billion in their pockets.