Thu. Aug 22nd, 2019

CBS and Viacom Reunited in Deal That Marks Ascendance of Shari Redstone

a single entity, called Viacom, until they were split up in 2006) was seen as necessary at a time when television audiences have eroded. Tech platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Netflix have chipped away at big media, eating into the once-fat profits that companies like CBS and Viacom reaped.Ms. Redstone had pushed for a deal…

CBS and Viacom Reunited in Deal That Marks Ascendance of Shari Redstone

a single entity, called Viacom, until they were split up in 2006) was seen as necessary at a time when television audiences have eroded. Tech platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Netflix have chipped away at big media, eating into the once-fat profits that companies like CBS and Viacom reaped.

Ms. Redstone had pushed for a deal for at least three years but faced fierce opposition from CBS’s board, including its former chief executive, Leslie Moonves. Mr. Moonves was pushed out last September after several women accused him of sexual assault. He has denied the charges. Ms. Redstone will be chairwoman of the combined company.

“I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets,” she said in a statement. “We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry.”

Viacom’s chief executive, Robert M. Bakish, will lead the combined company, which will be called ViacomCBS, and Joseph Ianniello, the CBS acting chief executive, will remain as head of a newly designated CBS unit, the boards of both businesses said in a statement.

When the two companies split in 2006, Viacom’s cable networks were seen as the faster-growing business and CBS the aging, out-of-step broadcaster. Fortunes reversed in the last decade as CBS became the most-watched television network and Viacom’s youth-centered channels were eviscerated by the internet.

The deal also represents the last in the current wave of mega media mergers. Two major transactions totaling more than $150 billion closed just last year. AT&T buttoned up its $80 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Shortly thereafter, the Walt Disney Company beat out its rival Comcast to win the majority of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bus

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