Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO CBS Corp., and Time Warner Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes “discussed the idea of combining their companies in meetings last year, three people with knowledge of the matter said. Bewkes wasn’t interested, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private,” Bloomberg reports.
Moonves is said to be examining his options as Sumner Redstone, the controlling shareholder in the company, transitions to being less actively involved. Among the things Moonves has reportedly been contemplating is whether Time Warner Inc. might have a role in the future of CBS Corp.
“His alternatives also include doing nothing, reuniting with Viacom Inc. or taking CBS private,” the story reports. “Redstone is 91 and when he dies his empire will be overseen by a five-member trust that doesn’t include CBS’s CEO. Moonves has made clear CBS should command a premium, and that bids ‘had better start with $100’ a share, or almost $50 billion. Time Warner could offer $80, Bank of America Corp. analyst Jessica Reif Cohen said in a March 2 note.”
But Moonves, who has been with CBS for 20 years, said at an investor conference last week: “I don’t see any way that we consolidate in the near or distant future unless it’s under terms that are really favorable to us.”
Some investors have been calling for a reunion of CBS and Viacom. But the report notes: “Moonves, 65, doesn’t see Viacom as a strategic fit, one of the people said. He has considered buying New York-based CBS with the help of partners, the New York Post reported last month.”