S&P cuts Paramount Global’s credit rating to ‘BB+’ on streaming challenges

(Reuters) – Ratings agency S&P lowered Paramount Global’s credit rating to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘ on Wednesday as stiff competition in the streaming landscape pressures the media giant’s free operating cash flow (FOCF) generation.

S&P had placed Paramount on negative watch in February, pending the company’s fourth-quarter results.

Later that month, Paramount’s revenue for the quarter fell short of market expectations, hurt by a soft advertising market, fallout from last year’s Hollywood strikes and a slowdown in demand for traditional television.

“We downgraded Paramount due to the degradation of credit metrics from the accelerating declines in linear media and the shift toward a more competitive and less certain streaming model,” S&P said.

Paramount did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The rating downgrade comes a week after media reports said private equity firm Apollo Global Management had offered $11 billion for the company’s Paramount Pictures film studio, adding to takeover interest in the media conglomerate.

“Paramount will need to execute its plan to substantially improve streaming losses over the next two years to mitigate further downside ratings pressure,” the rating agency said.

Paramount said last week it plans to roll out an ad-supported streaming service in Canada and Australia, and launch the higher priced, premium version across Europe.

However, S&P expects “some stabilization at the linear television segment, mostly due to the airing of the Super Bowl and the increased political advertising spend in an election year.”

(Reporting by Priyanka.G in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)



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