Viacom Inc. (VIAB:US) shares will gain at least 36 percent by 2017 as demand for television content rises and the cable industry consolidates, according to Mario Gabelli, chairman and chief executive officer of Gamco Investors Inc.
“Content is king,” Gabelli said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Rye, New York-based Gamco oversees about $37 billion. “We think it is $100 in three to four years. You’ve got to own” Viacom shares, he said.
Viacom, the owner of cable networks Nickelodeon and MTV, slipped 0.4 percent to $73.12 as of 11:05 a.m. in New York. Gamco is also bullish on Time Warner Cable Inc. and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., Gabelli said.
Netflix Inc. this year let expire its pact with Viacom for kids’ shows like “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” On June 4, Amazon.com Inc. picked up the shows on a non-exclusive basis. Gabelli said the agreement with Amazon was a better deal for New York-based Viacom.
Charter Communications Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to pursue a bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC:US), according to people with knowledge of the situation this month. Charter is also considering acquiring Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest provider, two other people have said.
Gabelli said a deal between Charter, Time Warner, and Cablevision would benefit shareholders.
“They have synergies because they can drive programming costs as they get scale,” he said.
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