Viacom, CBS jump on report of new re-merger pursuit

Marco Green
January 13, 2018

Neither company would comment to The Post, although sources close to both denied witnessing any uptick in merger discussions since independent committees of both boards and the Redstone family gave up on reuniting the two in December 2016.

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

Redstone, who serves as vice chair of both companies, has expressed her feelings to the leadership and boards of the two entities, according to the sources.

Shari Redstone, whose Redstone family firm National Amusements controls the two companies, is again pursuing the recombination of the two companies that split more than 10 years ago, multiple insiders told the publication. But no concrete steps in that direction have been taken, the sources said.

The Wrap reported that Redstone has concluded that, amid a rapidly changing media landscape, the two media companies need to merge to survive. Redstone is president of National Amusements, which controls both Viacom and CBS.

Redstone was not immediately available for comment. CBS owns the CBS broadcast network, TV stations, premium channel Showtime and a boutique film studio.

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.

Viacom and CBS became separate operating companies in 2005. The two companies underwent a rigorous review before calling things off in 2016.

But that was before Walt Disney (DIS) agreed to acquire 21st Century Fox (FOXA) entertainment assets. Lionsgate, in recent years, has been more successful than Viacom's movie division.

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

CBS stock closed up almost 2%, or $1.05 to $58.83 a share.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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