CBS to Sell Theme Park Business

Jan 26, 2006  •  Post A Comment

CBS Corp. said Thursday that it is selling its theme park business and has already received interest from a number of parties.

While the company refused to identify the potential suitors, CBS officials said they are confident they can complete a sale by the second half of 2006.

“This is a healthy and profitable business with great management, but it is one that just doesn’t fit with our core strategy,” said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves during an analyst meeting in New York.

CBS inherited the theme park business as part of the breakup late last year of Sumner Redstone’s Viacom, in which high-growth assets such as cable channels and movie production were stripped away from assets seen as having slower growth, such as broadcast television, radio, publishing, outdoor advertising and the theme park operation.

The properties being put up for sale include Paramount Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto; Paramount’s Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C.; Paramount’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.; Paramount’s King’s Dominion in Richmond, Va.; and Paramount’s Kings Island in Cincinnati. The theme park division also manages Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas, the Bonfante Gardens horticulture theme park in Gilroy, Calif., and CBS Television City in Las Vegas.

During the analyst meeting, Mr. Moonves said he might consider using Showtime as a launchpad for getting into the film business but stressed such a move was “not at the top of our hit parade” right now.

He added that while CBS might not be billed as a growth company, expanding revenue will be a priority, driven largely by new opportunities on digital platforms, including video-on-demand and the Internet.

“We will get paid each time the consumer views our content on those services,” Mr. Moonves said.