CBS, Viacom to reunite in merger that creates roughly $30B company


The combined company, ViacomCBS Inc., will have more than $28 billion in revenue and the largest market share - 22% - of the US television viewing audience, according to the companies.

CBS and Viacom, two of the leading entertainment companies in the United States, announced an agreement on Tuesday to reunite in a massive all-stock merger after 13 years apart, creating an American media conglomerate valued at about 30 billion USA dollars to cope with the increasingly drastic market competition in the country's media industry.

The merger will combine the CBS television network, CBS News, Showtime cable networks with MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount movie studios.

Viacom's Chief Executive Robert Bakish will lead the new company, which will be called ViacomCBS.

Both companies are owned by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements.

"Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale - for our own platforms and for our partners around the world - will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come", Bakish said in a statement.

Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO of CBS, will become chairman and CEO of CBS. With a combined streaming lineup of CBS All Access, Showtime, Pluto TV, BET+, and more on the way.

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CBS and Viacom have had an on-again, off-again relationship. What's more, ViacomCBS now boasts a catalog of more than 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 films, a list which includes titles like Star Trek and Mission Impossible. The Spanish-language network Univision is also a possibility, as CBS over the past few years has sniffed around the property, which is now said to be on the market at fire-sale prices. The deal would close by December 31, pending any regulator approvals.

The newly combined ViacomCBS will invest in more movies and TV shows and try to sell more advertising as it seeks to become a bigger player in the growing business of streaming video.

CBS shares gained 0.8% to $48.41 as of 9:40 NY on Tuesday, while Viacom rose 0.3% to $28.62.

They've agreed on an exchange ratio of 0.59625 a share of CBS for each of Viacom's for the all-stock merger, according to people familiar with the situation. Then the CBS board went through a dramatic overhaul previous year following the departure of longtime CEO Leslie Moonves over misconduct allegations.

Sources say the deal between CBS and Viacom has indeed been reached, placing the value of the merged company at $30 billion. There were previous attempts to merge the two companies but to no avail. Six will come from independent members from CBS, four independent members from Viacom, Bakish, and two National Amusements members.

Deadline brings word about the long-discussed merger, which results in what board chair Shari Redstone called "a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry". CBS's current CFO will take over as CFO for the new company.

CBS had been weighing its next moves since firing Moonves last September, after a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, setting off a shake-up that included a board overhaul.