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CBS And Viacom Pondering Forced Merger

Posted 9/28/2016 5:49 pm by

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When someone owns most of your company, it’s pretty hard to tell him no.  Sumner Redstone is a huge player in the media world, thanks to his company National Amusements.  National Amusements is a movie theater chain that also happens to own 80 percent of two massive media companies, CBS and Viacom.  So, in effect, Sumner Redstone (and daughter Shari) own National Amusements, CBS, and Viacom, and yet all three are separate companies.  Apparently, that might be changing.  Sumner Redstone is trying to talk CBS and Viacom into merging.

Redstone, who is an ailing 93-year-old media mogul, would like to see the struggling Viacom get folded under CBS and the leadership of Les Moonves, who has CBS running like a well-oiled entertainment machine.  He’d also like to get Paramount Pictures hooked into a more stable corporate partner.  Viacom has about $12 billion in debt, which makes it a difficult proposition for a merger with a company that isn’t already under the same ownership group.

For his part, Moonves is hesitant to create another Comcast NBC Universal-type corporate monolith.  “We are never going to do something that is bad for CBS shareholders,” he told investors at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference.

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