Sumner Redstone - Biggest media loser 2008

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 22, 2008 · Short URL:

Silicon Alley Insider puts Viacom's Sumner Redstone on top of loser list

 From layoffs, to a bankruptcy filing to share prices cut in half, it's been a tough year for big media companies.

So, who's the biggest loser of all the titans of media in 2008?

The Tribune newspaper, with $13 billion in debt, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. With that big implosion, you'd think that real estate mogul Sam Zell, who bought the Tribune just a year ago for $8 billion, would be this year's biggest media loser. But in fact, it appears Tribune employees felt the heartache more than Zell, according to Business Week.

And, according to Silicon Alley Insider, there were plenty other media moguls who saw a significant hit to their financial wealth.  

Of all the big media executives feeling the pain the most, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone was declared by SAI as the "biggest media loser of the year."

Earlier this December, Viacom, which includes, among other facets, MTV, VH1 and the Paramount movie studio, announced that it would cut about 7% of its workforce, or about 850 employees, and freeze salaries. But Redstone's problems are far deeper than what happens at his media conglomerate.

According to SAI: "Not only is Sumner getting divorced, but this fall he also lost $3 billion worth of Viacom and CBS stock and $800 million in a money-losing bet on Midway. According to The New York Times, Sumner may no longer even be a billionaire. Originally, we thought this meant he'd lost more than $4 billion, but Forbes tacks another $3.2 billion onto that and suggests that Sumner's net worth has fallen by more than $7 billion."

Ranked at No. 2 is Charlie Ergen:

LOSS: $6.1 Billion

 The richest media mogul you've never heard of, former pro poker player Charlie Ergen, is on a losing streak. The billionaire head of satellite TV company EchoStar Communications saw his net worth drop from $8.1 billion to $5.9 billion, thanks to September's market crash. But it didn't stop there. According to Forbes, Ergen's net worth is down $6.1 billion for the year as a whole.



Ranked at No. 3 is Rupert Murdoch:

LOSS: $3.95 Billion

 Rupert Murdoch's nearly $4 billion drop in News Corp. stock didn't stop the Australian CEO from paying a rumored $100,000+ for his wife's 40th birthday party in early December. And why not? Just a rounding error.






Ranked at No. 4 is Barry Diller:

LOSS: $3.5 Billion

 It's a good thing Barry Diller's such a fan of inexpensive transportation, because he may want to start saving some cash after the drubbing his massive 117 million-share stake in IAC took in the market this year. And he might want to ride over to a concert because Ticketmaster's stock isn't doing so great either. It's price is down 80% since Diller spun it off in August.




Ranked at No. 5 is John Malone:

LOSS: $1.6 Billion

 The Liberty Media chairman owns stock in multiple Liberty tickers and in Discovery Communications, but his divide-and-conquer approach didn't work this fall. As Liberty's tracking stocks got crushed, John Malone sustained substantial losses. Rupert Murdoch recently indicated he regretted selling DirecTV to Malone, who may now regret buying it.




Martha Stewart, whose Martha Stewart Omnimedia's stock, is down 65% this year, landed at No. 6, followed by Sam Zell, Cablevision owner Charles Dolan, Arthur Sulzberger, who owns 8% of NYTimes, and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, at No. 10.

(Image sources: SAI, Cableplease, Businesspundit, Money.cnn)







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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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