ViacomCBS Inc. announced Tuesday an agreement to sell its CBS Studio Center and its operating business for $1.85 billion to a partnership formed by Hackman Capital Partners LLC and Square Mile Capital Management LLC. ViacomCBS shares slipped 0.1% in premarket trading. The deal follows a “widely marketed” sale process, which the media and entertainment company said “attracted interest from a number of buyers.” When the deal closes, which is expected to occur in 2021, CBS Broadcasting Inc. will enter into a lease-back of the Broadcast Center, and ViacomCBS will continue to uses stages and produce content on the lot. “This sale is part of an ongoing optimization of ViacomCBS’ real estate and operations portfolio and will allow the company to re-deploy capital to strategic growth priorities, including streaming,” said ViacomCBS Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra. The stock has dropped 19.8% over the past three months through Monday, while the SPDR Communication Services Select Sector ETF has lost 8.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 2.8%.
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