Moonves: No Viacom Deal in Works

CBS chief says no active discussions around combining assets
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CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves threw some water on the continued speculation that the broadcast company would recombine with its troubled corporate sister Viacom, telling an industry audience Thursday they are “not in active discussions” concerning a merger.

Speculation has been heavy that CBS would hook up with Viacom, as the troubled cable programmer has struggled with a declining audience and falling ad revenue. The ouster of executive chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman in August after a bloody battle with the company’s controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone – who also owns the majority of CBS voting shares – only added fuel to the speculative fires.

Viacom and CBS split in 2006, a deal that has worked out far better for CBS as it has grown its broadcast and Showtime Networks assets considerably over the past decade.

Moonves, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment conference in Los Angeles, said Viacom and CBS are “not in active discussions.”

"The truth of the matter is we are a standalone public company, we are really happy with the hand we are playing, we are doing extraordinarily well on our own with our own assets,” Moonves said. “We’re never going to do something that is bad for the CBS shareholders or the employees.”

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