Viacom Soars After ‘Quiet Place’ Fuels Comeback at Paramount

(Bloomberg) -- The surprise success of the horror film “A Quiet Place” made a big noise at Viacom Inc., helping earnings top estimates and sending the shares on their biggest rally in six months.

The results mark good news for Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish, whose top shareholder Shari Redstone has pushed the company to merge with CBS Corp., the other media giant controlled by her family’s National Amusements. CBS has resisted the deal, saying Viacom is a bad match, and is trying to dilute the Redstone family’s voting stake.

“A Quiet Place’’ cost just $17 million to produce and grossed $332 million in worldwide ticket sales. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, which lost money in 2017, is in the midst of a strong summer at the box office, thanks to “Mission: Impossible -- Fallout.’’ The studio has branched out into TV production in recent years, producing shows for Netflix, Amazon and Turner Broadcasting.

Led by Paramount, Viacom reported third-quarter profit from continuing operations of $1.18 a share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.07. Revenue grew to $3.24 billion in the period, just below projections of $3.27 billion.

That helped send the shares up as much as 8.9 percent to $31.16 on Thursday, marking the biggest intraday gain since February. The stock had been down 7.1 percent this year through Wednesday’s close.

‘Real World’ Reboot

Viacom is also trying to take advantage of the growing demand for TV shows by turning its cable networks into mini-studios as well. The company will reboot the past series “Daria’’ and “Real World’’ for streaming services.

Dig deeper into Viacom’s financial results

The company’s main business, U.S. cable networks, continues to struggle. Viacom, which owns MTV and Nickelodeon, is trying to boost the results of that division by adding more international networks, and extending the cable networks into live events and merchandise.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.