UPDATED, 3/24 4:15 p.m. ET: ViacomCBS’ stock price slumped 23% Wednesday after the company announced pricing of its $3 billion stock sale. The decline came after a 9% drop Tuesday.
Before the market opened Wednesday, ViacomCBS announced pricing of 20 million shares of its Class B common stock at $85 per share and 10 million shares of its Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock at $100 per share. The company said it expects to use the net proceeds of $2.65 billion (or $3.06 billion if underwriters fully exercise their options) from the stock sales for “investments in streaming” and other general corporate purposes.
At close of regular trading Wednesday, ViacomCBS stock was $70.10 per share (down 23.2%), erasing the shares’ gains over the prior two weeks. The company’s shares closed Tuesday at $91.25 apiece, down nearly 9.1%, after it announced the plan to sell $3 billion or more in stock as part of funding streaming content a day earlier.
The media giant’s stock sale represents a dilution of existing shareholders’ equity. However, even with the selloff that continued into Wednesday, shares of ViacomCBS are up 92% since the start of the year. The conglom’s market cap as of Wednesday noon ET stood at around $43.4 billion, up from $23 billion as of Dec. 31, 2020.
The company is making a significant bet on Paramount Plus, which debuted March 4 and subsumed subscribers of the previous CBS All Access service. At the end of 2020, ViacomCBS tallied some 29 million subscribers for its streaming platforms worldwide and has told investors it is targeting 65 million-75 million customers by 2024.
Last year ViacomCBS spent about $15 billion companywide on content including sports rights. By 2024, the media conglomerate expects to spend around $5 billion on streaming content, some of which will include the cost of content for both linear TV and streaming platforms.
Viacom and CBS completed their merger in December 2019. The media and entertainment company’s portfolio includes CBS, Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Plus and Pluto TV.