Proposed 2019 merger of CBS and Viacom
The original Viacom was created in 1952 as the television syndication division of CBS, and was spun off in 1971. In 1999, Viacom acquired its former parent, by this time also named CBS Corporation (formerly Westinghouse Electric). In January 2006, Viacom was spun off into two entities, CBS Corporation and the present-day Viacom.
Early information (September 2016–August 2019)Edit
On September 29, 2016, National Amusements sent a letter to the company and CBS Corporation, encouraging the two companies to merge back into one company. On December 12, the deal was called off.
On January 12, 2018, CNBC reported that Viacom had re-entered talks to merge back into CBS Corporation, after the planned merger of AT&T-Time Warner and Disney's proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets were announced. Viacom and CBS also faced heavy competition from companies such as Netflix and Amazon. Shortly afterward, it was reported that the combined company could be a suitor for acquiring the film studio Lionsgate. Viacom and Lionsgate were both interested in acquiring The Weinstein Company. Following the Weinstein effect, Viacom was listed as one of 22 potential buyers that were interested in acquiring The Weinstein Company. They have lost the bid, and on March 1, 2018, it was announced that Maria Contreras-Sweet will acquire all of TWC's assets for $500 million.
On March 30, 2018, CBS made an all-stock offer slightly below Viacom's market value, and insisting that its existing leadership, including long-time chairman and CEO Les Moonves, oversee the re-combined company. Viacom rejected the offer as being too low, requesting an increase by $2.8 billion, and requesting that Robert Bakish be maintained as president and COO under Moonves. It was reported these conflicts had resulted from Shari Redstone seeking more control over CBS and its leadership.
Eventually, on May 14, 2018, CBS Corporation sued its and Viacom's parent company National Amusements and accused Shari Redstone of abusing her voting power in the company and forcing a merger that was not supported by it or Viacom. CBS also accused Redstone of discouraging Verizon Communications from acquiring it, which could have been beneficial to its shareholders.
On May 23, 2018, Les Moonves stated that he considered the Viacom channels to be an "albatross," and while he favors more content for CBS All Access, he believes that there are better deals for CBS than the Viacom deal, such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lionsgate or Sony Pictures. Moonves also considered Bakish a threat because he does not want an ally of Shari Redstone as a board member of the combined company.
On September 9, 2018, Les Moonves exited CBS after being accused by twelve women of sexual assault. National Amusements agreed to make no proposal of a CBS-Viacom merger for at least two years after the date of the settlement.
On May 30, 2019, CNBC reported that CBS Corporation and Viacom would explore merger discussions in mid-June 2019. CBS's board of directors was revamped with people who are open to a merger, The re-merger was made possible with the resignation of Moonves (who opposed all attempts for a Viacom merger). The talks had started following rumors of CBS acquiring Starz from Lionsgate. Reports said that CBS and Viacom reportedly set August 8 as an informal deadline for reaching an agreement to recombine the two media companies. CBS announced to acquire Viacom as part of the re-merger deal for up to $15.4 billion.
On August 2, 2019, it was reported that CBS and Viacom agreed to merge back into one entity. Both companies came to an agreement on the management team for the merger, with Robert Bakish serving as the CEO of the combined company while the president and acting CEO of CBS, Joseph Ianniello, will oversee the CBS-branded assets. On August 7, 2019, CBS and Viacom separately reported their quarterly earnings as the talks about the re-merger continued.
Road to completion (August 2019–present)Edit
Upon the merger agreement, Viacom and CBS jointly announced that the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.
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- "CBS and Viacom To Combine" (PDF). CBS. August 12, 2019.
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