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CBS, Viacom officially consider merger

CBS and Viacom have formed special committees to evaluate a potential merger between the two media companies, both of which are controlled by the Redstone family.

Shari Redstone

The merger would see CBS’s television network combined with Viacom cable channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central, as well as its movie studio Paramount Pictures.

Viacom also owns Channel 5 in the UK, Telefe in Argentina and Colors in India, the latter via its partnership with TV18.

Both Viacom and CBS issued statements yesterday confirming that the process of combining the two entities, which were split from each other 13 years ago, was being considered.

“There can be no assurance that this process will result in a transaction or on what terms any transaction may occur,” both CBS and Viacom said.

National Amusements, the parent company of both Viacom and CBS led by Shari Redstone, called for the two firms to consider a potential merger in September 2016, but withdrew the request three months later.

However, Redstone is said to be pushing for a merger again, leading the two companies to form committees to examine the idea.

The proposed merger comes as the US media industry faces a period of huge consolidation, with Disney’s US$52bn takeover of major 21st Century Fox assets and AT&T’s US$85bn agreement to buy Time Warner currently facing regulatory scrutiny.


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