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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.”

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An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

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Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

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President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.