Viacom and CBS, which split into separate companies in 2006, could be getting back together again. Bloomberg reports that with Shari Redstone now in control at Viacom Inc., the chances of a reunion for the companies just got better.
“The daughter of 93-year-old billionaire Sumner Redstone, whose frail health ignited the power struggle in which she triumphed, is considering recombining Viacom with CBS Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.,” Bloomberg reports. “Such a move would reunite the two pillars of the Redstone family’s media empire, though CBS shareholders may blanch at the idea of taking on Viacom’s struggling cable networks and movie studio.”
The report adds: “CBS, whose Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves has been on good terms with the Redstones, hasn’t received any indication that a deal is imminent, according to a person familiar with the matter; its board would need to support any transaction. CBS declined to comment and Shari, who serves as vice chair of both companies, didn’t respond to a request for comment. A CBS merger is just one of many decisions the Redstones will consider, including how to boost the ratings of Viacom networks and whether its creative leaders are the right ones.”
The companies’ split in 2006 “was supposed to let the high-flying cable networks operate unencumbered by the slow, steady broadcast business,” the report notes.