CBS CEO George Cheeks confirmed in a memo to employees that the company has hired commercial real estate firm JLL to investigate all options for the space. He said the move “aligns with our strategy to divest non-core assets like real estate and direct that value to priorities such as creating more of our best-in-class content.”
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While Cheeks acknowledged that employees will likely have questions related to the decision, he assured them the company would have adequate capacity for broadcast and studio production.
Since CBS and Viacom reunited in December 2019, many duplicated assets have been shed or marked for divestiture. The Black Rock sale to Harbor Group, which was finalized last week, netted $760 million. The company runs another LA production facility, the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.
The production facility, which has 18 soundstages, has been a staple of the LA entertainment business for decades. Silent film producer and director Mack Sennett opened it in 1928. Soon, it became best-known for television, hosting productions like Gunsmoke, Gilligan’s Island, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and, in more recent times, Big Brother and Entertainment Tonight.
Bloomberg had the first report on the company’s plan.
Here is the full memo from Cheeks:
CBS Team – I wanted you to be aware of something that you will read about in media reports very soon.
ViacomCBS has hired the commercial real estate firm JLL to explore a potential sale of our Radford campus in Studio City. Similar to our announcement last week regarding the sale of Black Rock in New York, this aligns with our strategy to divest non-core assets like real estate and direct that value to priorities such as creating more of our best-in-class content.
I know even the possibility of a sale raises lots of questions, especially for those who work at Radford. I can tell you that regardless of whether Radford is sold, we will ensure we have the studio capacity to support our leading broadcast and production businesses. Beyond that, until we have more definitive information, there isn’t much we can say at this point in the process. I will share any new information with you as soon as I can.
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