CBS Radio is in play.
Now that Sumner Redstone is out of the picture at Viacom and CBS, rapid change may be in the air. Les Moonves runs CBS, and CBS radio is a division within CBS. CBS Radio is a cash cow with high profit margins, but growth prospects are not good. Les would like to get rid of the radio albatross.
One cautionary note – when George Beasley did station swaps with CBS (including all of the Charlotte stations), revenue to those stations plummeted. My sense is a lot of the revenue within CBS radio is tied to the parent CBS, possibly coming from related entities like CBS TV
One obvious possibility is spinning off CBS Radio as a separate company – creating a non taxable event to existing stockholders (including the Sumner Redstone trust) and a new publicly traded company with independent management. An IPO is another possibility with CBS retaining some of the stock – that option seems less likely.
Another option in play would be the long rumored merger of CBS Radio and Cumulus Media. That makes a fair amount of sense – maybe a deal similar to Cumulus acquiring Citadel. Merging the two entities would give a chance to reset the stage of the finances and confuse attempts to compare historical earnings.
Cumulus CEO Mary Berner needs to get rid of the Cumulus “brand”. A merger with CBS Radio would solve that problem, either picking up the CBS Radio brand or a new name. Trademarks can get tricky as long as CBS TV still exists but with different owners.
A subset of options might include selling the main cash cows – the all news stations – to the very successful Hubbard Broadcasting, who runs WTOP in Washington DC.