ViacomCBS has sold the original CBS headquarters in midtown Manhattan, or Black Rock, for $760 million to Harbor Group International, a private real estate investment and management firm.
The deal, unveiled on Monday, marks the first sale of the CBS headquarters at 51 West 52nd Street since it opened in 1964. Owner-occupier ViacomCBS will now lease back property on a short-term basis, with the transaction set to close before the end of 2021.
Selling Black Rock is also the latest deal by ViacomCBS to unload non-core assets that do not serve the Hollywood studio’s unfolding streaming focus. ViacomCBS completed earlier sales of CNET and Simon & Schuster to finance its expanding content and streaming strategy.
“This agreement follows the previously announced strategic review of non-core assets that we completed shortly after our merger,” Naveen Chopra, executive vp and CFO at ViacomCBS, said in a statement.
The asset sales have aimed to position ViacomCBS with a structure similar to streaming giant Netflix, which continues to build up its international originals after hitting a subscriber plateau in the U.S.
Wall Street analysts earlier estimated the New York CBS headquarters could raise $1 billion-plus if successfully sold. Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar projected it “could be worth $700 million to $1.2 billion.” The Hollywood Reporter