Viacom Shares Surge On Talk Of CBS Counter Offer


In the latest update from unnamed sources to Reuters, it appears that a below-value all-cash bid for Viacom presented to the company by kissing cousin CBS Corp. has been swatted away. Instead, Viacom President/CEO Bob Bakish, who earned total compensation of $20.3 million in 2017, is likely positioning himself for a future role in a reunified CBS by assisting in the preparation of a counterproposal.

The unnamed chatters tell Viacom that CBS’s offer wasn’t even a written one: it was verbally communicated to the company on Friday and put Viacom below its roughly $12.5 billion market value.

Viacom is expected to seek more than 0.62 CBS share for every Viacom share, one of the sources told Reuters. The counterproposal is expected by tomorrow (4/5), another of the mystery gabbers told Reuters.

At the center of what could be prolonged negotiation over a recombination of Viacom and CBS is Bakish.

The Redstone family’s National Amusements Inc., the controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, reportedly wants Bakish to be the No. 2 executive behind Moonves in the combined company. Moonves wants CBS COO Joseph Ianniello as his No. 2, the sources told Reuters.

With 20 minutes remaining in Wednesday’s trading on Nasdaq, Viacom’s Class B shares were up 4.7%, to $30.80. It’s a move in the right direction for Viacom, which bottomed out at $29.42 yesterday after climbing as high as $34.28 in early March.

However, Viacom shares are a far cry from where they were one year ago, when they closed at $45.27 but were in the beginning stages of a steady freefall to $23.27 on Nov. 3, 2017.

Viacom’s 1-year target price is $35.09.