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REDSTONE PUSHING FOR CBS-VIACOM MERGER

The boards of Viacom and CBS both received a letter from Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements Thursday morning requesting that the two companies explore a potential merger. Speculation about such a scenario has been rampant for months, amid questions about Redstone’s mental capacity, while CBS has concurrently been taking steps to spin off CBS Radio.

In the letter, National Amusements made it clear that it’s not willing to accept or support any third-party acquisition by a third party—seemingly putting those rumors to rest—or any deal that would result in Redstone surrendering his controlling position in Viacom. National Amusements owns about 80% of the voting shares of both Viacom and CBS and 10% of Viacom’s total common stock outstanding.

Viacom and CBS were merged between 2000 and 2006.

The two companies have been going in opposite directions in recent months, with Viacom in disarray following the Redstone-initiated ouster of A big part of Chairman/CEO Philippe Dauman, while CBS has been the model of stability and prosperity under Les Moonves. Viacom’s core assets, including MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, are a hot mess.

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