Viacom Initiates Attractive Dividend Payment

Viacom Inc [[VIA]] announced today that the company will initiate a quarterly dividend of $.15 per share.


Following the dividend announcement, Viacom stock will boast a 1.7% dividend yield based on yesterday’s closing price. Income investors are sure to take notice of this announcement as Viacom will now offer a higher yield than other consumer media stocks like Disney (1.0% yield) or News Corp (1.2% yield).


Viacom President and Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman said in a statement today, “Viacom’s quarterly cash dividend and the resumption of our long-standing stock purchase program demonstrate our commitment to return value to our stockholders and our confidence in Viacom’s ability to deliver long-term, sustainable growth.


“Today’s announcements are the direct result of our focused strategic efforts over the last several years to increase efficiency and emphasize free cash flow generation while continuing to invest in our creative content engines. We are confident that our robust free cash flow generation will give us the flexibility to continue to simultaneously grow our operations and generate significant returns for our shareholders.”


The entertainment giant which owns BET, MTV and Paramount Pictures will also implement a $4 billion stock repurchase program.


Investors cheered the news of the dividend announcement, sending Viacom shares up 3.2% to $37.09 in afternoon trading. The shares have now gained over 18% in 2010, while the S&P 500 has dropped 3%.


The initial dividend will be payable on July 1 to shareholders of record as of June 21.


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