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In The News

The principals of M&A are quoted regularly and frequently in publications ranging from Business Week and Forbes to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, and other major publications worldwide. M&A has been the subject of interviews on business-radio and television programs including the Fox Business News, CBS MarketWatch, The TV, Yahoo! Finance TV, Sirius XM Radio, BBC-Worldwide and CNBC. Below are links to a sample of articles in which M&A has been quoted:

Viacom net rises 21% on strong ads

July 2003

Viacom net rises 21% on strong ads

Geraldine Fabrikant / The New York Times 
July 25, 2003 Friday

NEW YORK Buoyed by a strong comeback in advertising spending, Viacom said Thursday that its second-quarter net profit rose 21 percent to $659.6 million as revenue surged 10 percent to $6.4 billion. 

Viacom also pleased Wall Street by announcing that it would pay its first quarterly dividend in ten years of 6 cents a share. The move came at a time when taxes on corporate dividends have dropped. "The decision to pay a dividend reaffirmed that Viacom is now a blue-chip entertainment company," said John Tinker, a media analyst at Blaylock & Partners. 

Viacom shares rose $1.51 to close at $44.46 on Thursday 

Advertiser spending is the driving force at Viacom, which gets nearly half of its revenue from ad sales. 

The most impressive gains at Viacom came at its largest division: the cable network unit, the parent of MTV, BET and Nickelodeon, where operating profits surged 33 percent to $492.8 million and revenue rose 22 percent to $1.35 billion. 

"We have seen some signs of resurgence in national advertising, but this is very strong," said Kenneth Marlin of Marlin & Associates, an investment bank focused on media acquisitions. 

Viacom, which had already owned 50 percent of the cable channel Comedy Central, acquired the balance of that company in May for $1.2 billion, so the current quarter included revenue and profit from the entire channel. 

The company no longer breaks out pro forma figures to reflect how performance would have been if an acquisition had been included in the previous year's figures. But Richard Bressler, the company's chief financial officer, told investors Thursday that in the quarter, the additional income from Comedy Central's revenue was effectively offset by expenses related to layoffs at the channel. As a result, the net effect on operating income was "immaterial," he said. 

Analysts said the numbers at the cable networks were stunning, and the company indicated that the market looked very strong for both its cable and its broadcast channels in the third quarter. 

The company's video-rental chain, Blockbuster Video, saw operating profit jump 46 percent to $105 million on a 10 percent rise in revenue to $1.39 billion. Blockbuster's performance was largely the result of increased rentals of DVDs, which generate higher profit margins than videocassette rentals. 

Copyright 2003 International Herald Tribune

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