Simon & Schuster ceo Carolyn Reidy wrote to staff Wednesday morning “to let you know that today ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish announced that the company is beginning the process by which ViacomCBS will potentially sell Simon & Schuster.” Bakish was speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco: “We’ve been conducting a portfolio review of our company. And coming out of that we’ve made the determination that Simon and Schuster is not a core asset of the company. It is not video based; it doesn’t have significant connectivity to our broader business. At the same time, there’s no question it’s a marquee asset that’s highly valuable. I’ve had multiple, unsolicited inbound calls about that asset. And so as this market stabilizes, we are going to engage in a process and look at strategic alternatives for Simon and Schuster.”
Reidy tells staff, “While there will likely be rumor and speculation – which I know can be distracting – I trust that you will stay focused on continuing the great work you do every day with your usual dedication. In the meantime, we will continue to do what we do best: connecting remarkable authors to audiences everywhere.
“This process will surely be an adventure for all of us, but we are a company that has always risen to the challenges we face. It is your professionalism and expertise that makes Simon & Schuster great, and I thank you in advance for your hard work and commitment during this coming period of transition.”
Reidy says, “We will update you when there are developments to share.”
S&S just reported sales of $814 million for 2019, down $9 million from 2018. Their adjusted OIBDA was $143 million, $10 million lower than in the previous year but still a very healthy margin, after growing profits for 19 consecutive quarters until the streak was broken in the fourth quarter of 2019.