Are CBS And Viacom Looking To Reunite?

Angelo Anderson
January 13, 2018

There are no merger talks underway, three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to publicly discuss the situation said Friday.

The report notes that plans to rejoin CBS and Viacom were scrapped in December 2016 after Shari Redstone was persuaded by CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves to let the companies continue to go it alone.

CBS shares ended Friday's session almost 2 percent higher, while Viacom closed more than 9 percent higher.

Stock in Viacom and CBS rose this afternoon following reports that vice chair Shari Redstone is interested in re-uniting the two media companies that split more than a decade ago. A spokesperson for Redstone did not respond to a request for comment.

Viacom owns MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and the Paramount Pictures film studio in Hollywood.

Her rekindled interest in merging the companies, which was reported Friday by the Hollywood trade publication the Wrap, comes as little surprise. The two companies underwent a rigorous review before calling things off in 2016.

Viacom ( VIAB ), after surging during the regular session on chatter that it was looking to merge with CBS ( CBS ), is now sliding late on further reports suggesting negotiations are not ongoing.

Still, after-hours trading had Viacom's stock sink 2%, with subsequent reports refuting the initial news.

Other medium-sized companies have become merger bait as traditional media companies see increased scale - and distribution - as a way to compete with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Netflix.

But Viacom shut down talks later that year, after the younger Redstone pulled the plug on the proposal, supporting then-new Viacom chief Bob Bakish and telling Recode last year that there was better value in CBS and Viacom remaining separate.

But that was before Walt Disney ( DIS ) agreed to acquire 21st Century Fox ( FOXA ) entertainment assets. CBS closed at $58.83, up 1.85%. But as recently as past year, Shari Redstone said that a merger would have squashed Viacom's "momentum".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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