CBS Corporation was downgraded to market perform from outperform on Tuesday by Cowen, which also lowered its price target to $50 from $69. “While we continue to like the company’s assets and strategic positioning, between the legal/control fight with National Amusements, the potential for a recombination with Viacom, and the allegations of sexual harassment at the company, there are too many unquantifiable variables for us to remain Outperform-rated,” analysts wrote, led by Doug Creutz. National Amusements holds almost 80% voting stakes in CBS and Viacom, and its president, Shari Redstone, has been working to merge them despite resistance from CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. Creutz called the current investigation of alleged sexual harassment by Moonves an “added overhanging” with uncertain outcomes. “We also worry about the impact on company operations,” Creutz added. “At some level, this has to be a distraction — at a time when the industry is undergoing tremendous change and even companies with no internal turmoil are struggling.” CBS shares have fallen 12.4% so far this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.5%.
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