CBS And Viacom Lastly Re-Tie The Knot, Merging After 13 Years As Separate Corporations

CBS And Viacom Finally Re-Tie The Knot, Merging After 13 Years As Separate Companies

Ending years of fitful discussions that performed out towards a backdrop of operatic company drama and media trade consolidation, CBS and Viacom have lastly agreed to merge. The deal reunites them and swimming pools belongings corresponding to Paramount Photos, CBS, Showtime and MTV in a brand new entity to be known as ViacomCBS Inc. after 13 years of the 2 working in largely separate media domains.

Below the all-stock deal, Viacom shareholders will get 0.59625 CBS shares for every non-voting share they personal, which is an change ratio a bit beneath Viacom’s closing worth final Friday. Regulatory approval of the merger is predicted within the subsequent a number of months.

The honest market worth of the tie-up as of immediately is about $30 billion. The mixed annual income of the brand new firm is $28 billion.

Bob Bakish, who has guided Viacom’s progress since taking on as CEO in 2016, will lead the mixed entity as president and CEO. Joe Ianniello, interim CEO of CBS since September 2018, will keep on as chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS belongings.

Christina Spade, who had been CFO of CBS since final fall, shall be EVP and Chief Monetary Officer; and Christa D’Alimonte shall be EVP, Basic Counsel and Secretary.

The brand new firm’s board of administrators may have 13 members. Six shall be unbiased members from CBS, 4 shall be unbiased members from Viacom, one other would be the president and CEO of ViacomCBS and two shall be picked by Nationwide Amusements (NAI), the longtime controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. NAI chief Shari Redstone shall be board chair. Strauss Zelnick, who had been interim chair, introduced months in the past he didn’t intend to remain within the combine past his interim tenure.

For Redstone, the deal is a vindication of her intuition to reunite the businesses and comes after a prolonged interval of problem at every firm and at occasions along with her father, Sumner Redstone. Now 96 and in failing well being, Redstone retains the title of chairman emeritus of the empire he constructed from a handful of Massachusetts film theaters.

The youthful Redstone now occupies a uncommon place of energy and fairness possession for a lady within the leisure trade.

“I’m actually excited to see these two nice corporations come collectively in order that they will notice the unimaginable energy of their mixed belongings,” she mentioned within the official announcement. “My father as soon as mentioned ‘content material is king,’ and by no means has that been extra true than immediately. By means of CBS and Viacom’s shared ardour for premium content material and innovation, we’ll set up a world-class, multiplatform media group that’s well-positioned for development in a quickly remodeling trade. Led by a proficient management group that’s excited by the long run, ViacomCBS’s success shall be underpinned by a dedication to sturdy values and a tradition that empowers our distinctive folks in any respect ranges of the group.”

Bob BakishBob Bakish

“In the present day marks an vital day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary belongings and capabilities and change into one among only some corporations with the breadth and depth of content material and attain to form the way forward for our trade,” Bakish mentioned. “Our distinctive means to provide premium and widespread content material for international audiences at scale – for our personal platforms and for our companions around the globe – will allow us to maximise our enterprise for immediately, whereas positioning us to steer for years to come back.”

Ianniello mentioned the merger “brings an thrilling new set of alternatives to each corporations. At CBS, we now have excellent momentum proper now – creatively and operationally – and Viacom’s portfolio will assist speed up that progress. I stay up for all we’ll do collectively as we construct on our ongoing success. And personally, I’m happy to stay centered on CBS’s prime precedence – persevering with our transformation into a worldwide, multiplatform, premium content material firm.”

The transaction combines belongings of the 92-year-old CBS, together with its flagship broadcast community, native TV stations, premium community Showtime and publishing home Simon & Schuster, with Viacom’s Paramount Photos, MTV and Nickelodeon. Because the streaming wars intensify between conventional media and tech giants Netflix and Amazon, the mixed CBS-Viacom gives a notable mixture of subscription and advertising-supported streaming companies. CBS launched CBS All Entry and Showtime’s over-the-top (OTT) platforms in 2015. Earlier this yr, Viacom acquired Pluto TV, a number one ad-supported VOD service.

The drumbeat had been getting louder for a merger in current weeks, and the situations for an amicable association proved extra favorable. The boards of each corporations held talks via final weekend in a last push. Contemporary perspective might have helped: Most members of the CBS board joined as administrators prior to now yr, disrupting years of stasis as the corporate sought to reset its tradition and path within the wake of former CEO Les Moonves’ ouster. The longtime mogul left underneath a darkish cloud after allegations of sexual assault and harassment by greater than a dozen ladies.

The 2 corporations have held three rounds of formal merger talks in recent times, however the final two efforts ran aground as a result of Moonves objected to the administration construction and different points. Tensions had grown between Moonves and Shari Redstone over the management of the corporate by Nationwide Amusements and NAI’s efforts to, in his view, drive a stronger firm to be tied to a weaker one, boiling over within the spring of 2018. CBS sued NAI, which responded with a lawsuit of its personal. The case resulted in a settlement on the time of Moonves’ exit. The settlement banned NAI from initiating merger talks for 2 years, however didn’t stop the person corporations from doing so.

Sumner RedstoneSumner Redstone
Sumner Redstone
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

CBS and Viacom break up up in 2006, underneath the idea that extra worth could be unlocked by “liberating” Viacom from the then-sluggish, broadcast-heavy CBS shares. The roles quickly reversed, nevertheless, with CBS using its top-rated broadcast community, surging Showtime and rising distribution and licensing income to change into the better-performing of the 2 shares. Viacom’s cable-heavy set of belongings, which minted cash from the 1980s to the 2000s, started to hit turbulence this decade. Streaming, YouTube and social media carved into linear viewing of its once-invincible networks, hurting advert gross sales. Bakish’s predecessor, Philippe Dauman, took an especially arduous line with pay-TV operators, alienating many and jeopardizing carriage charges. One massive cable firm, Suddenlink (now a part of Altice USA), balked at Viacom’s phrases and stored its channels off its programs for 2 years.

Sumner Redstone, who as soon as ran Nationwide Amusements with an iron hand, was succeeded by his daughter, Shari, a number of years in the past and has been sick. Shari Redstone spoke out early and sometimes in favor of bringing the businesses again collectively and has additionally pursued talks with different corporations who may, in flip, roll up a mixed Viacom and CBS. That will properly nonetheless be the plan, based on insiders, and rollups of smaller independents corresponding to Lionsgate or MGM are also potentialities.

Within the quick time period, the main target shall be on integration and monetary efficiencies. In Tuesday’s announcement, the corporate mentioned it anticipates $500 million in price financial savings from the deal, a determine that’s notably lower than the targets of mega-deals like Disney-Fox and AT&T-Time Warner. Accordingly, the CBS-Viacom mixture isn’t more likely to end in deep job cuts, although there’s now overlap in lots of administrative areas.

Here’s a timeline of key moments within the historical past of CBS and Viacom:


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