CBS reports its earnings next weeks, and the Wall Street Journal thinks Les Moonves is going to have to slash its fat dividend or even get rid of it altogether. But will Sumner Redstone let him? “A reduction would be an acknowledgement that despite the CBS CEO’s frequent upbeat statements — such as his January 6th comment that he felt ‘much more optimistic’ in 2009 than in 2008 — CBS feels the need to preserve cash to meet $1.6 billion of debt obligations due next year. And with CBS shares now trading with an implied dividend yield of 18%, Wall Street is clearly expecting a cut. The only real question is by how much.” The paper even suggests that a total elimination of the $725 million dividend payout is “probably necessary” especially when CBS’ free cash flow will drop to $800 million in 2009 from $1.2 billion in 2008. Who won’t like that? Sumner Redstone, CBS’ heavily indebted controlling shareholder who received around $87 million in dividends from that company in the last year.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.