Paramount could merge with another studio
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Viacom Inc's VIAb.N Paramount Pictures could merge with Sony Pictures, Universal Studios or another movie studio amid a wave of consolidation in the industry over the next few months, veteran investor Mario Gabelli said in the latest issue of Barron's.
The chief executive of Gamco Investors Inc, who owns shares of Viacom, said he expects dealmaking among movie studios as they seek to cut costs.
Viacom is owned by media mogul Sumner Redstone, who also owns CBS Corp (CBS.N).
"Today there are seven or eight motion-picture studios. A round of consolidation will occur in the next six to 12 months because of the costs of financing, prints and advertising, the benefits of globalization and such," Gabelli said. "We hear talk of something going on."
Viacom, which also owns MTV, is a "terrific cash generator" and could earn $2 a share this year, going to $2.40 a share next year, Gabelli said. The company might buy back stock, he added.
Sony Pictures is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corp (6758.T). Universal Studios is owned by the NBC Universal media wing of General Electric Co (GE.N).
(Reporting by Anupreeta Das; Editing by Martin Golan)
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