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Photo: Sam Mellish/In Pictures via Getty Images

ViacomCBS is looking to sell Simon & Schuster, the nearly 100-year-old publishing business, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The possible move comes as part of the company's plan to shed noncore assets to better focus on its core businesses: video and streaming.

Details: "[W]e’ve made the determination that Simon & Schuster is not a core asset of the company," Bakish said at an investor conference in San Fransisco. "It is not video-based, it doesn’t have significant connectivity to our broader business."

  • Bakish said he's received multiple inbound calls for the publisher, and he expects it to be an easy sell. According to the Wall Street Journal, ViacomCBS expects north of $1 billion for the asset.
  • The publisher has for decades sold classic titles from storied authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stephen King.

The big picture: Bakish stressed that managing the newly merged company's balance sheet is a focus, which is why ViacomCBS is looking to explore dumping noncore assets.

  • He noted that the company is already engaged in conversations with buyers to sell CBS’s Manhattan headquarters building, known as Black Rock, and that the company anticipates closing that deal in 2020.
  • "[R]est assured, we are going to continue to look for other places where we believe there’s opportunities to dispose of assets in an accretive way," he said.

What's next: Bakish seemed to indicate that the sale process was underway and would be completed by year's end. He noted the sale "will produce material cash in 2020.”

Go deeper

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Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.