National Amusements, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryEntertainment
Movie theaters
Founded1936; 86 years ago (1936) in Dedham, Massachusetts
FounderMichael Redstone
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
Owner
  • Shari Redstone
Number of employees
23,900 (2017)
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websiteshowcasecinemas.com

National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned theater company and mass media holding company based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Maryland.[1] It is the controlling shareholder of Paramount Global.

History

The evolution of Paramount
1912Paramount Pictures is founded
1927CBS is founded
1929Paramount buys 49% of CBS
1932Paramount sells back shares of CBS
1950Desilu is founded & CBS distributes its television programs
1952CBS creates the CBS Television Film Sales division
1958CBS Television Film Sales renamed as CBS Films
1966Gulf+Western buys Paramount
1968Gulf+Western acquires Desilu and renames it Paramount Television & CBS Films becomes CBS Enterprises
1970CBS Enterprises renamed as Viacom
1971Viacom is spun off from CBS as a separate company
1985Viacom buys full ownership of Showtime & MTV Networks
1986National Amusements buys Viacom
1989Gulf+Western renamed as Paramount Communications
1994Viacom acquires Paramount Communications
1995Westinghouse buys CBS
1997Westinghouse renamed as CBS Corporation
1999Viacom buys CBS Corporation
2001Viacom buys BET Networks
2006Viacom splits into second CBS Corporation and Viacom
2019CBS Corporation and Viacom re-merge to form ViacomCBS
2022ViacomCBS changes its name to Paramount Global

The company was founded by Michael Redstone in 1936 in the Boston suburb of Dedham as Northeast Theater Corporation, operating a chain of movie theaters in the region. Fifty years later in 1986, when the founder's son Sumner Redstone joined the company, it was renamed National Amusements. That year, the company acquired Viacom, a former CBS subsidiary syndicating television programs to stations around the United States. NA retained the Viacom name and made a string of large acquisitions in the early 1990s, announcing plans to merge with Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), parent of Paramount Pictures, in 1993, and buying the Blockbuster Video chain in 1994. The acquisition of Paramount Communications in July 1994 made Viacom one of the world's largest entertainment companies.

In March 2005, the company announced plans of looking into splitting Viacom into two publicly traded companies under the continuing ownership of National Amusements because of a stagnating stock price. The internal rivalry between Les Moonves and Tom Freston, longtime heads of CBS and MTV Networks respectively, and the controversy of Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, which resulted in MTV being banned from producing any more Super Bowl halftime shows, were also seen as factors. After the departure of Mel Karmazin in 2004, Redstone, who served as chairman and chief executive officer, decided to split the offices of president and chief operating officer between Moonves and Freston. Redstone was set to retire in the near future, and a split would be a creative solution to the matter of replacing him.

The split was approved by Viacom's board on June 14, 2005, and took effect on January 1, 2006, and effectively reversed the Viacom/CBS merger of 1999. The existing Viacom was renamed CBS Corporation (thus restoring its pre-merger name) and was headed by Moonves. It was intended to include Viacom's slower-growing business, namely CBS, The CW (a merger of UPN and The WB), CBS Radio (since sold to Entercom [renamed Audacy, Inc. in 2021] as of November 17, 2017[2]), Simon & Schuster (to be sold to Penguin Random House[3][4]), CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom Outdoor, since spun-off as Outfront Media in 2014), Showtime Networks, CBS Television Studios, CBS Television Distribution and CBS Studios International.

In addition, CBS Corporation was given Paramount Parks, which it later sold to amusement park operator Cedar Fair on June 30, 2006, and the CBS College Sports Network, now known as the CBS Sports Network.

Additionally, a spun-off company was created called Viacom, which was headed by Freston. It comprised MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, and Paramount Pictures' home entertainment operations. These businesses were categorized as the high-growth businesses.

At the end of 2008, due to financial troubles, owners Sumner Redstone and Shari Redstone sold $400 million of nonvoting shares in National Amusements.[5][6] In October 2009, the company sold almost $1 billion of its interest in the stock of CBS and Viacom[7] and sold 35 theaters to Rave Motion Pictures. Today these theatres are owned by Cinemark, AMC, Alamo, or have closed. National Amusements now almost exclusively operates theaters in the Northeastern United States (with the exception of one location in Ohio).[8] The following year, National Amusements planned to sell $390 million of notes to refinance a large part of the company's bank owed debt.[9]

As of December 2019, National Amusements, directly and through subsidiaries, holds approximately 79.4% of the Class A (voting) common stock of Paramount Global, constituting 10.2% of the overall equity of the company. The company may hold an unspecified stake in Audacy, Inc., as part of the reverse Morris trust that spun CBS's radio assets off to that company; CBS Corporation shareholders overall held a 72% stake in the then-named Entercom as of the spin-off.[10]

Current operations

Further information: 2019 merger of CBS and Viacom

City Center 15 Cinema de Lux in White Plains, New York. The lobby includes a waiting area with a television, newspaper rack and sofas (left), a piano (right of center), and a restaurant (not pictured).
City Center 15 Cinema de Lux in White Plains, New York. The lobby includes a waiting area with a television, newspaper rack and sofas (left), a piano (right of center), and a restaurant (not pictured).

The company operates more than 1,500 movie screens across the Northeastern United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America under its Showcase Cinemas, Showcase Cinema de Lux, Multiplex Cinemas, and Cinema de Lux. In Canada, National Amusements also owned Famous Players theatres through Viacom which today are now owned by Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas. In 2004, National Amusements acquired the Brazilian operations to cinema chain UCI, and revamping it to be more in line with Showcase. They also share some of the corporate identities of Showcase and have XPlus & De Lux rooms in selected cinemas, as well as fully reclining seats.

In 2019, it was announced that the multinational media conglomerates controlled by National Amusements (Viacom and CBS Corporation), would re-merge to form a new company named ViacomCBS.[11] Viacom and CBS announced that the merger would close on December 4;[12][13] following the official close,[14] the company began trading on NASDAQ the following day. In 2022, the company was renamed Paramount Global.[15]

Recent Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone died on August 11, 2020.[16][17][18]

References

  1. ^ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2018-03-26). "U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR".
  2. ^ "Entercom Sets Friday Morning Close For CBS Radio Merger". Insideradio.com. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  3. ^ Whitten, Sarah (2020-11-25). "ViacomCBS sells Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2 billion". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  4. ^ Lauer, Douglas Busvine, Klaus (2020-11-25). "Bertelsmann buys Simon & Schuster for $2.2 billion in U.S. publishing play". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  5. ^ James, Meg (October 11, 2008). "Redstone hit by credit troubles". LA Times. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  6. ^ "Report: Shari Redstone Rejected $1 Billion Buyout Offer of Her Stake in Family Empire". Variety. 21 December 2015.
  7. ^ Edward B. Colby (2009-10-14). "National Amusements Inc. to sell nearly $1B of its Viacom, CBS stock". The Daily News Transcript. Archived from the original on 2010-04-24.
  8. ^ Nikki Finke (2009-12-07). "Rave To Acquire 35 Of Redstone's National Amusements Theater Complexes". Archived from the original on 2013-02-15.
  9. ^ Korby, Boris; Maheshwari, Sapna (November 23, 2010). "National Amusements Plans to Sell $390 Million of Notes to Refinance Debt". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  10. ^ "CBS Sets Radio Division Merger With Entercom". Variety. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Media giants to merge in latest mega-deal". 2019-08-13. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  12. ^ "CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc. Announce Expected Closing Date of Merger". Business Wire. November 25, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "CBS and Viacom Reveal December Merger Date – Mark Your Calendars". November 25, 2019.
  14. ^ Weprin, Alex (December 4, 2019). "Bob Bakish's Memo to ViacomCBS Staff: Merger "A Historic Moment"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  15. ^ Mullin, Benjamin; Chin, Kimberly. "ViacomCBS Renames Itself Paramount". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  16. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2020-08-12). "Sumner Redstone, Towering Media Mogul Who Helped Shape Modern Entertainment Industry, Dies at 97". Variety.
  17. ^ James, Meg (2020-08-12). "Media mogul Sumner Redstone, whose empire included Viacom and CBS, dies at 97". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Kandell, Jonathan (2020-08-12). "Sumner Redstone Dies at 97; Built Media Empire and Long Reigned Over It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.