After years of trying to get back together, CBS and Viacom have officially reached a deal to recombine their companies and become ViacomCBS.
The all-stock merger creates a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will become president and CEO of the combined company. Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello will become chairman and CEO of CBS.
The combined company’s portfolio of consumer brands includes CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, along with a content library comprising more than 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,600 film titles. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production and it will include Hollywood film studio Paramount Pictures.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close by the 2019 calendar year end.
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For Shari Redstone, vice chair of the boards of directors for both CBS and Viacom, the merger is the culmination of years of trying to recombine the companies, which officially split apart in 2006.
“I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets. My father once said ‘content is king,’ and never has that been more true than today. Through CBS and Viacom’s shared passion for premium content and innovation, we will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry,” said Redstone in a statement.
Alongside the merger announcement, CBS and Viacom laid out a three-part strategy for future growth. First, ViacomCBS wants to accelerate and expand (including globally) its direct-to-consumer strategy, which includes subscription streaming services CBS All Access and Showtime and ad-support streaming services including Pluto TV and CBSN. Second, the company will look to build on its current distribution and advertising efforts and third, create a content producer and licensor business with customers including MVPDs, broadcast and cable networks, subscription and ad-supported streaming services, mobile providers and social platforms.