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Board to Make Decision Within Month : CBS Considers Fate of Records Group Division

October 19, 1987|JAY SHARBUTT | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — CBS Inc. will decide soon if it will sell all or part of the CBS Records Group or keep that division in its present form, Laurence A. Tisch, the company's president, said Friday.

"It's all under review," he said in a brief phone interview. "We're looking at all our options, and I'm sure the board will come up with a decision on that within the next month or so."

His comments came two days after the CBS board, following its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, said it had made no decision on selling its lucrative record group to Sony Corp.

Sony reportedly has offered $2 billion for the division. The record unit's third-quarter revenue this year jumped 22.1% to $414 million, according to CBS, which last year sold its book and magazine publishing operations.

"Business is excellent," Tisch said of the record unit. "We have a great company. Our only desire is to do what's best for the employees of the record company and the stockholders of CBS."

Despite that division's results, revenue at the CBS Broadcast Group, which faced a soft advertising market last year, dropped 6% in the third quarter to 547.1 million. Tisch nonetheless was optimistic.

He said CBS Inc. had expected the decline "to be worse" than it was and predicted that business will be better in the current quarter. He also said CBS Television won't be in the red this year, as the company once predicted.

A month after he took over as CBS' chief executive in September, 1986, a company forecast was given him saying that "the network will lose money in 1987," he said. "We've turned that around."

He declined to estimate how much the television network will earn in 1987 but said that "it'll be decently in the black." And 1988, he added, "should be a very good year."

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