ViacomCBS Latest Media Company To Withdraw Financial Guidance, Warn Of ‘Material’ Impact From Coronavirus Pandemic

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ViacomCBS has joined the list of companies withdrawing financial guidance, saying the coronavirus could have a material – but as yet impossible to quantify – impact on its operations.

It cited postponement of theatrical releases domestically and internationally; cancellation or rescheduling of sports events the company broadcasts; and delays in television and filmed entertainment programming.

“The magnitude of the impacts will depend on the duration and extent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of federal, state, local and foreign governmental actions and consumer behavior in response to the pandemic and such governmental actions,” the company said in an SEC filing.

Walt Disney, Comcast, Discovery, Sony and others have warned of the impact.

“Due to the evolving and uncertain nature of this situation, we are not able to estimate the full extent of the negative impact on ViacomCBS’ operating results, cash flows and financial position – including advertising and filmed entertainment revenues – particularly over the near to medium term.”

But it noted increased viewership across broadcast and cable properties and said it’s utilizing its deep library of content to mitigate in part the impact of production delays. It’s also actively seeking cost savings to offset some anticipated revenue loss.

ViacomCBS reaffirmed its expectation to achieve $750 million of merger-related cost synergies over the next three years. The company is also reaffirming its expectation to have approximately 16 million domestic streaming subscribers in pay and approximately 30 million monthly active users on Pluto TV at the end of 2020.

It also outlined its debt situation: access to a committed $3.5 billion revolving credit facility with a maturity in January 2025 which is available for general corporate purposes and to support commercial paper outstanding, if any.  As of March 26, it had not drawn on its revolving credit facility and has approximately $932 million of short-term indebtedness, including $732 million of commercial paper outstanding and $200 million of short-term bank borrowings. The company has upcoming corporate debt maturities in the next 12 months of $300 million in February 2021 and $500 million in March 2021.

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