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Viacom Stock Plummets $350 Million in Wake of Jon Stewart Departure

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Shares of Viacom, the parent company of Comedy Central, slid 1.5% on Wednesday after The Daily Show host Jon Stewart announced he would leave the program later this year.

Stewart made the announcement Tuesday afternoon; by end of trading Wednesday, the losses wiped out approximately $350 million of the media conglomerate’s market value, according to Fortune.

News of Stewart’s departure comes at a challenging time for Viacom. Comedy Central’s primetime ratings reportedly sank 17% this TV season, leading to a 9% drop in profits in the company’s last fiscal quarter.

Last year, fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert announced he would leave the network to take over David Letterman’s spot as host of CBS’ The Late Show.

Stewart has not yet announced his post-Daily Show plans, however one media executive said Thursday that his brand is likely to remain lucrative, whatever he decides to do.

Former Yahoo! CEO Ross Levinsohn said on CNBC’s Fast Money that, were Stewart to attract one million subscribers, each paying $8 per month through a direct-distribution platform, his brand could be worth as much as $100 million.

“There is a generation of fans who would follow Jon Stewart probably anywhere,” Levinsohn said.

Viacom’s stock closed Thursday at $67.71, up 0.83% according to Yahoo! Finance.


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