The rumors are rampant. Wall Street is talking. Now, Reuters is fueling the flames.
CBS Corp. and Viacom are discussing a reunification of the two companies, the news agency reported following the Closing Bell on Wall Street on Thursday.
Citing “sources familiar with the situation,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish and CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves “have had an exploratory discussion about merging the two media companies.” This took place in early January, Reuters says.
This could be just that — an exploratory discussion. But, Reuters positions it as “a potential first step toward a recombination of CBS and Viacom.”
Why? Both the CBS board of directors and Viacom board of directors have regularly scheduled meetings in the next several weeks. A potential merger of the companies is expected to be part of each meeting’s agenda, Reuters’ unnamed sources note.
Moonves has been historically against a merger with Viacom, which had struggled until recently.
The reunification talks may be new, but the idea is not. The companies explored such a recombination in 2016, fueled by National Amusements and the Redstone family — each company’s controlling shareholders. A merger was ultimately nixed.
Now, with The Walt Disney Co. set to acquire a majority of 21st Century FOX, the recombination of Viacom and CBS has resurfaced in a big way with Redstone, Reuters notes.
Bakish would have a senior role at the combined company if the two companies agree to a merger, Reuters’ sources says.
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