CBS Corporation’s board of directors is reportedly moving closer to kicking off acquisition discussions with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and MTV owners Viacom according to multiple sources.
The move has been expected for a long time, reuniting both parts of the Redstone media empire though price is expected to be an issue. CBS reportedly sees Viacom’s various assets as troubled, but Viacom believes it is in a much stronger position this year.
CBS decided on Tuesday to call off its search for a permanent CEO. Joseph Ianniello has served as president and acting CEO since September last year after the exit of disgraced longtime chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves. Should the companies come together, It is believed that Viacom president-CEO Bob Bakish will likely lead the combined entity.
Controlling shareholder Shari Redstone has made it clear that she feels CBS and Viacom are best served by formally reintegrating, but she can’t propose such a merger for another 18 months due to a litigation settlement around the time of Moonves’ departure. That doesn’t stop CBS or Viacom’s board from initiating such discussions though.