Number of employees
National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned theater company and mass media holding company based in Norwood, Massachusetts, and incorporated in Maryland. It is the parent company of ViacomCBS.
|1927||CBS is founded.|
|1952||CBS forms the CBS Films division, later renamed Viacom.|
|1971||Viacom is spun off from CBS as a separate company.|
|1986||National Amusements acquires Viacom.|
|1995||Westinghouse buys CBS.|
|1997||Westinghouse renames itself CBS Corporation.|
|1999||Viacom buys CBS Corporation.|
|2006||Viacom splits into the second CBS Corporation and Viacom incarnations.|
|2019||CBS Corporation and Viacom re-merge to form ViacomCBS.|
The company was founded by Michael Redstone in 1936 in the Boston suburb of Dedham as Northeast Theater Corporation, operating a chain of movie theaters in the region. Fifty years later in 1986, when the founder's son Sumner Redstone joined the company, it had been renamed National Amusements. That year, the company acquired Viacom, a former CBS subsidiary syndicating television programs to stations around the United States. NA retained the Viacom name and made a string of large acquisitions in the early 1990s, announcing plans to merge with Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), parent of Paramount Pictures, in 1993, and buying the Blockbuster Video chain in 1994. The acquisition of Paramount Communications in July 1994 made Viacom one of the world's largest entertainment companies.
At the end of 2008, due to financial troubles, owners Sumner Redstone and Shari Redstone sold $400 million of nonvoting shares in National Amusements. In October 2009, the company sold almost $1 billion of its interest in the stock of CBS and Viacom and sold 35 theaters to Rave Motion Pictures. Today these theatres are owned by Cinemark, AMC, Alamo, or have closed. National Amusements now almost exclusively operates theaters in the Northeastern United States (with the exception of one location in Ohio). The following year, National Amusements planned to sell $390 million of notes to refinance a large part of the company's bank owed debt.
As of December 2019, National Amusements, directly and through subsidiaries, holds approximately 79.4% of the Class A (voting) common stock of ViacomCBS Inc., constituting 10.2% of the overall equity of the Company. The company may hold an unspecified stake in Entercom, as part of the reverse Morris trust that spun CBS's radio assets off to that company; CBS Corporation shareholders overall held a 72% stake in Entercom as of the spin-off.
The company operates more than 1,500 movie screens across the Northeastern United States, the United Kingdom, Latin America, and Russia under its Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas, Cinema de Lux, and KinoStar brands. It also operates a nightclub in Foxborough, Massachusetts called Showcase Live, which is located next to a Showcase Cinema de Lux. In Canada, National Amusements also owned Famous Players theatres through Viacom which today are now owned by Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas.
In 2019, it was announced that the multinational media conglomerates controlled by National Amusements (Viacom and CBS Corporation), would re-merge to form a new company named ViacomCBS.