Trading Begins in Separate CBS, Viacom Stock


CBS and Viacom Monday marked the latest step in their separation, expected by the beginning of 2006, with the initial New york Stock Exchange "when issued" trading--trading before there are any actual certificates available--of separate CBS and Viacom stocks.

The new Viacom will comprise MTV Networks, BET, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, and Famous Music. CBS Corp. will comprise the CBS TV network; UPN; the CBS TV station group; Infinity Broadcasting; CBS, Paramount and King World production and syndication arms; Showtime; Viacom Outdoor; Paramount theme parks; and Simon & Schuster.

In a memo to employees, Leslie Moonves, who will head up CBS, called it a "milestone" in the separation and in that company's history, then pointed out that the two together traded at more than the value of the current company "out of the box."

That was good news to employees, since when the split is effected, each share they hold will be converted into two half-shares of each company.