Report: CBS Readying Viacom Offer

Journal says price, leadership still a question
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CBS-Viacom

CBS is reportedly readying an offer to finally purchase Viacom in the coming weeks, but key components like a price and who will lead the combined entity are still being worked out, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. 

CBS’s board of directors met on June 14 to talk about the possibility of a merger, and a formal offer could be made in the next few weeks, the Journal reported. In late May reports said a deal was expected to be reached in mid June. 

CBS and Viacom split in 2006 and attempts have been made to staple the two companies back together twice in the past four years to no avail. But as the entertainment business has continued to fragment, putting the broadcast business back with the Viacom portfolio of cable networks has become more attractive.

Bob Bakish

Bob Bakish

Viacom stock has surged in the past few weeks as speculation has heated up about a possible deal. Its shares closed at $29.81 each on June 18, up 1.7%. CBS stock has been less responsive -- it closed at $49.21 per share on June 18, up 0.1% or about 6 cents each.

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, a favorite of company chair Shari Redstone, has been said to be the frontrunner to take the top spot in the combined company. CBS is currently being led by acting CEO Joe Ianniello, who took over after former chairman and CEO Les Moonves resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal last year, and there is reportedly some debate on how the rest of the management team will flesh out.

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