“As merger talks between CBS and Viacom board members intensify, scenarios under consideration for the post-deal management are coming into focus,” Variety’s Cynthia Littleton reported on Friday.
“Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has a lock on the CEO slot for the combined entity,” Littleton continued, adding this scoop: “But multiple sources familiar with the situation say it is unlikely that the company will have a corporate-level chief operating officer post as has been the tradition at both CBS and Viacom. The question of who would fill the No. 2 role as the merger brings together a clutch of strong division heads has emerged as politically touchy, at least in the short term.”
Also on Friday, Paul Bond and George Szalai of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “CBS’ plan to acquire Viacom for up to $15.4 billion could be announced Aug. 8, giving its controlling shareholder the ability to leverage IP like ‘Star Trek’ across film and TV to better compete with Disney, Netflix and the rest.”
The THR story adds, “If the companies merge, the larger entity would instantly gain heft for acquiring more companies, argues [Wolfe Research analyst Marci] Ryvicker. Already, CBS has offered about $5 billion to buy Starz from Lionsgate, and some say that Univision might make for a snappy asset, as the Spanish-language media company is for sale at a relative bargain price after multiple failed attempts to go public.
“If (or when) the two merge, the company name ought to be CBS, says Jimmy Schaeffler of the Carmel Group, who calls it a ‘tiny but important part of the decision. That would give them more recognition and moxie with the public and Wall Street.’ Analysts expect a combined CBS-Viacom to pour ever more money into content, and insiders say that, just like now, when the two merge they won’t hoard their shows and movies for their own streaming services but sell many of them to the highest bidders — and there will be plenty as Disney and WarnerMedia pull their content from Netflix.”