Is A CBS/Viacom Merger Just Months Away?


A report late Sunday in the New York Post has fueled the fire once again that Viacom and CBS Corp. are indeed set to reunify.

The tabloid, however, puts the timetable for a reuniting not in years, but in months.

The newspaper’s Alexandra Steigrad reports that the two companies are gearing up for talks — and that now that former CBS executive Les Moonves is out of the picture, National Amusements Inc. head Shari Redstone could be moving forward with a plan to merger CBS and Viacom “within the next three to six months.”

An unnamed source told the Post, “I would be surprised if we are sitting around in March and CBS and Viacom are not combined.”

The newspaper also notes that an auction of CBS has failed to attract bidders, and the recombination of the companies is being fueled by Fox and Disney getting together, as well as AT&T’s merger with Time Warner.

NAI has a controlling interest in both Viacom and CBS. The latter was to be diluted by CBS in a move fueled by Moonves, before confirmed allegations of sexual misconduct doomed his career.

CBS’s interim chairman is presently Strauss Zelnick; he could be in the running for the permanent CEO nod.

Did the Post‘s report spook CBS shareholders? At the Closing Bell on Monday, CBS was off 4.4% to $54.95. Volume was heavy at 5.39 million shares; average volume is 3.19 million shares. Meanwhile, Viacom’s Class B shares slid 4.8%, to $31.42.

That said, it was a poor day for general indices, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 1.6%.