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CBS Offers to Buy Back $500 Million

NEW YORK: CBS Corp. offered to buy back up to $500 million of its outstanding debt. The cash tender offer was announced today for 6.625 percent notes due May 15, 2011; 8.625 percent debentures due Aug. 1, 2012; and 5.625 percent notes due Aug. 15, 2012. CBS (NYSE: CBSA) said it would buy the notes according to priority based on the order of those due dates and interest rates, the earliest being first. The first round of notes due next year will be subject to a maximum purchase sublimit of $400 million. An early tender premium of $30 per $1,000 in principal is being offered.

Standard & Poor’s raised CBS from negative to stable last Friday on the media company’s efforts to reduce its leverage. The company reported 4Q09 revenues of $3.5 billion, down less than 1 percent from the year earlier. Net earnings were $58.8 million, compared to $136.1 million the year earlier. Full-year revenues were $13 billion, compared to nearly $14 billion in 2008. Net earnings were $226.5 million, compared to a net loss of $11.7 billion for 2008.

The 14 owned-and-operated CBS TV stations took in $358.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, and $1.14 billion for the full year.

A shares of CBS have fluctuated from $12.69 to $14.79 between Jan. 1 and now, but are about flat year-to-date at around $14.