Moonves says CBS will need M&A to compete with Comcast, Disney

CBS just closed a deal to acquire Australian broadcaster Network Ten.

CBS CEO Les Moonves admitted that, with all the potential media consolidation in the works and the scale of his company’s competitors, CBS will eventually have to pursue M&A or partnerships.

“Now we’re competing against monstrous companies. Disney is six times as big as we are. Comcast is six times as big as we are. Netflix market cap is huge. Now Amazon, the number one company in the world, is producing content. We’re sort of like an old fashioned production company. We’re a small guy. Eventually are we going to need to do partnerships with other content companies and distribution companies? The answer is probably yes,” Moonves told CNBC.

Besides potential partnerships, Moonves said that CBS would need to continue developing its own series like “Star Trek: Discovery,” which is exclusive to CBS’ streaming service All Access.


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Moonves also acknowledged the current regulatory environment and the contentious review process between the Justice Department and the proposed $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger.

“I've been surprised a lot in the past few weeks that the Department of Justice objected to this deal. It didn't seem like something they would do, but God only knows what the reasons are for stopping that,” Moonves told the network.

Reports are currently swirling about Comcast, Sony and Verizon all being interested in buying a set of 21st Century Fox assets including film and television studios, international assets like Sky and Star, and Fox’s cable networks including FX and National Geographic as well as the company’s stake in Hulu.

While CBS doesn’t appear to be involved in any domestic M&A activity at the moment—despite just closing a deal to spin off its radio business, which merged with Entercom—the company did just acquire Australian broadcaster Network Ten and several of its digital properties.

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