Another merger between media companies could be coming.
CBS is reportedly again considering a merger with Viacom. Sources tell NBC News that CBS board members are having internal conversations about an acquisition after giving a contract extension to president and acting CEO Joseph Ianniello. It would reunite the two companies after the original version of Viacom Inc. was split into today's Viacom and CBS Corporation at the end of 2005.
There were previously moves in that direction, but they were complicated in May 2018 when CBS, under now ex-chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, sued its parent company, National Amusements. The lawsuit claimed in part that the merger "was not in the best interests of CBS and its stockholders." Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement in September 2018, as Deadline reported at the time.
This time, CBS leadership has changed and Viacom considers itself better positioned for the merger, per Variety. Should it happen, the combined company would own assets like Viacom's Paramount Pictures, MTV, and Nickelodeon, and CBS's Showtime, CBS Television Studios, and Simon & Schuster. Together, they could potentially be better poised to compete with rivals like Disney, which recently acquired key 21st Century Fox assets.
An NBC News source says not to expect an imminent offer. The companies involved have not commented.
[via: NBC News; Variety]