CBS and Viacom have announced an agreement to reunite, forming a company they hope will be big enough to tackle the behemoths of the media landscape.
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The combined company will include a film studio, Paramount Pictures, as well as the CBS network, cable channels such as MTV and Comedy Central and a host of digital platforms.
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[ Country music stands at a moment of great racial change. Or so its biggest cable network believes. ]
Executives hope the range of assets will help the firm compete with Netflix, which has become the dominant entertainment subscription service with some 150 million global subscribers, and Disney, which has the four highest grossing movies in the U.S. this year. (Their total receipts exceed $2 billion.)
The all-stock deal will see Viacom shares convert to .59625 of CBS shares. CBS’ market capitalization is about 50 percent larger than Viacom.
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Bob Bakish, Viacom’s current president and chief executive, will assume the role at the combined firm. Joe Ianniello, who had been president and acting chief executive at CBS, will now be chairman and chief executive of the company’s CBS division.
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[ A CBS–Viacom merger is a logical step, but probably only a first one ]
The two firms had been united until 2006, when Sumner Redstone, who controlled both, decided to split them up.
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“Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry,” Bakish said
Shari Redstone, the vice chair of both companies who had been pushing for the reunion, noted that she thought the combined unit “can realize the incredible power of their combined assets” and promised “a world-class, multiplatform media organization.”
This is a developing story and will be updated