Viacom Inc. plans to dump underperforming radio stations, but will not sell its Infinity Broadcasting unit, company chairman/CEO Sumner Redstone said Thursday (June 3).

Viacom Inc. plans to dump underperforming radio stations, but will not sell its Infinity Broadcasting unit, company chairman/CEO Sumner Redstone said Thursday (June 3).

Viacom has already begun identifying which stations to sell under its Infinity umbrella, Redstone told investors at a conference organized by Sanford C. Bernstein in New York. He did not elaborate on how many stations would be sold.

"We probably will sell some of those stations to others, who are more avaricious about radio than we are," said Redstone, who reiterated a commitment to not sell Infinity.

The company's commitment to revamp its radio unit came just two days after veteran radio executive Mel Karmazin abruptly resigned as Viacom president/COO after an uncomfortable tenure under Redstone.

Redstone said he expected that Infinity would show operating improvements through the year. "Radio is growing, but not as fast as we would like," he said. But it is "certainly not the business it was when Mel was king of that business."

New York-based Viacom, which owns the CBS television network, MTV and the Paramount movie studio, also plans to seek out potential cable channels to buy, but does not see any major deals in sight, Redstone said.

Redstone also said he planned to back controversial radio host, Howard Stern, who has lamented the loss of Karmazin, his biggest supporter.

"We'll give him the support," Redstone said. "I believe he will stay with us."

Separately, Redstone shot down speculation Viacom was looking to break into the video games business. He said Viacom once looked at leading game publisher, Electronic Arts Inc., but its current stock price made an acquisition too expensive.

Viacom's widely traded Class B shares closed the day up 38 cents to $37.18 on the New York Stock Exchange. Electronic Arts ended 79 cents higher at $51.36 on Nasdaq.

--Reuters

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