The board of CBS is gearing up to begin merger talks with Viacom in earnest next month, according to a report from CNBC.
The two companies have engaged in various levels of talks for a proposed merger in recent years. Shari Redstone, who serves as vice chairwoman for both Viacom and CBS, is reportedly interested in revisiting the idea this summer. According to CNBC’s report, the combined company would be run by Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.
The two companies most recently entered into a lengthy back-and-forth on a proposed merger in 2018, but negotiations ended in bitter feud as CBS sought to dilute majority shareholder National Amusements’ (NAI) voting power within the company. In that scuffle, CBS accused Redstone, who is NAI’s president, of interfering with the CBS board nomination process and blocking another unnamed acquisition partner from pursuing a deal with CBS in favor of Viacom.
CBS is looking to gain scale in order to better compete against internet and cable giants for sports broadcast rights, particularly the coveted NFL rights. The company is reportedly considering possibly acquiring other media firms, such as Discovery Communications and Lionsgate’s cable channel Starz, according to CNBC.