Viacom International shares tumbled $4 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange amid late-day rumors that the entertainment company would buy out the stake owned by investor Carl C. Icahn, who is believed to hold about 17%.
A Viacom spokesman declined to comment on the buyback rumor. After the close of trading, however, one Wall Street source said the report appeared to be unfounded. Viacom shares closed at $68 as 838,300 shares were traded.
According to several sources, Viacom refused to buy back Icahn's stake when it measured just under 5%. That refusal apparently spurred Icahn's buying spree last week. Sources say the New York financier acquired about 2.5 million Viacom shares in a five-day period, but Icahn has not commented publicly. Telephone calls to his office Monday were not returned.
Agencies Must Be Told
Viacom executives huddled through the weekend with advisers, according to several sources, but made no announcements. Viacom spokesman David Fluhrer also declined to comment on whether the broadcasting and cable-TV concern has been notified of a Hart-Scott-Rodino filing.