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Viacom Outlook Cut by Moody’s on Poor Performance, Dividends

  • Moody’s won’t lower rating until ownership fight is settled
  • Sale of studio stake could hold off cut if management prevails
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Viacom Inc. needs to slash its dividend and improve its poor performance to avoid a cut to its credit rating, Moody’s Investors Service said, changing its outlook to negative from stable.

Viacom, owner of MTV and Comedy Central, was spared an immediate downgrade of its Baa2 rating during the ongoing dispute over control of the company, Moody’s said Tuesday in a statement. A court fight between controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman could lead to a shift in strategy, Moody’s said.