Jim Cramer says ViacomCBS is a buy, sees more room for the dividend-paying stock to run

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday he believes ViacomCBS is an attractive investment right now, citing the media company’s dividend payment and improving fundamentals.

The stock has jumped in recent weeks, and is up nearly 16% year to date, the “Mad Money” host acknowledged. However, he said, “I think it’s the beginning of a move” even higher.

“ViacomCBS is certainly cheap for a reason. This has not been an incredibly well-run company. They also had that Archegos disaster,” Cramer said. “But there are signs that they’ve gotten their act together and I think they’re paying you to wait for the turn with that 2.75% [dividend yield]. That’s why I like the risk-reward here.”

While Cramer presented a host of reasons for his outlook, he said the most important one has to do with the broad investment environment right now. Wall Street no longer wants high-growth, high-multiple stocks now that the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates, Cramer said.

“Instead we like stocks that are backed by meaningful earnings [and] solid dividends, especially if they’re cheap,” Cramer said, noting that ViacomCBS falls within that category as shares trade at roughly 9 times earnings.

Despite its attractive price, Cramer said he doesn’t believe the stock constitutes a value trap because the company’s underlying business prospects appear to be heading in the right direction.

In the near term, ViacomCBS’s fourth-quarter earnings, which are slated to be released in late February, will likely be buoyed by the fall football slate for both college and the National Football League, Cramer said. Additionally, Cramer said he likes the company’s video streaming strategy with Paramount+ and Pluto, a free, ad-supported online TV service.

Cramer said the company’s Paramount Pictures division also has tailwinds behind it as the coronavirus pandemic progresses and pushed-back film productions are released.

“Viacom is a good value play in a world that suddenly cares about value,” Cramer said.

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