Shari Redstone has backed off on her position as she seeks to break an impasse in efforts to merge CBS Corp. and Viacom. Reuters reports that the media heiress, whose family controls both companies, let CBS CEO Leslie Moonves know she’s willing to drop her demand that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish be his No. 2 following a merger.
The report cites sources who are familiar with the matter saying Redstone is willing to back off on the demand as long as Bakish sits on the combined company’s board.
“The offer is an attempt by Redstone to resolve an impasse in the deal negotiations,” Reuters reports. “Redstone has been trying to put together a deal that will keep Moonves, a 68-year-old media industry veteran credited with turning CBS around, at the helm, while positioning up-and-coming Bakish, 54, as Moonves’ successor.”
Reuters adds: “Moonves has agreed to run the combined company for at least two years, as long as CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will be president and chief operating officer of the combined company, so he can succeed him, sources have previously said.”