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CBS & VIACOM MERGER CONFIRMED

Following tons of ongoing speculation, CBS and Viacom are reuniting, thanks to a deal reportedly priced at $12b. The two were previously merged between 2000 and 2006.

According to L.A. Times, CBS—valued at $18.5b on its own—will absorb Viacom, which owns the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and the Paramount Pictures movie studio. Together, they could be worth around $32b. The new company, now called ViacomCBS Inc., retains the Viacom name in honor of renowned entrepreneur Sumner Redstone, whose daughter, Shari Redstone, will become Viacom’s first-ever chairwoman. Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish, meanwhile, will serve as chief executive and join the board.

Back in 2016, we reported that the boards of Viacom and CBS both received a letter from Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements requesting that the two companies explore a potential merger. So, you could say it’s been a long time coming.

Shari, who’s managed her family’s controlling stakes in the two companies since her 96-year-old father’s health began to decline, sparked the charge here.

In the time of Netflix and Amazon, more traditional media players have been faced with serious behemoths. An urge to armor and/or bulk up makes sense. But will the new company be able to aggressively compete, given the changing landscape? Wonderers are wondering.

A statement from the Viacom website can be seen here:

“ViacomCBS Inc. will accelerate CBS and Viacom’s ability to deliver an array of compelling content to important and diverse audiences across both traditional and emerging platforms around the world.

The combined company will include the largest television business in the U.S., with the highest share of broadcast and cable viewing across all key audience demographics, and strength in every key category, including News, Sports, General Entertainment, Pop Culture, Comedy, Music and Kids – making it a first-choice partner to distributors and advertisers. In addition, the combined company will possess a portfolio of fast-growing direct-to-consumer platforms, including both subscription and ad-supported offerings. It will also include a major Hollywood film studio, Paramount Pictures, which has been a producer and global distributor of filmed entertainment for more than a century and continues to be a global box office driver.”

More details can be found there.

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