CBS and Viacom are reuniting after 13 years of operating as separate companies under the umbrella of Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements, the companies announced on Aug. 13.
Shari Redstone, who is currently vice-chair of both Viacom and CBS, will become chair of the combined company, which will operate as ViacomCBS. Current Viacom chief executive Bob Bakish will be the company’s CEO, and CBS acting chief Joe Ianniello will remain as chairman and CEO of the CBS-branded assets.
While ViacomCBS aims to position itself as a force that can do battle with such media behemoths as AT&T, Disney, Netflix and Comcast, it will still be considerably smaller than any of those companies. AT&T has a current market cap of $255 billion, a report from Yahoo Financial says, with Disney close behind at $247 billion. ViacomCBS’s $31 billion market cap also lags far behind Comcast ($198 billion), Netflix ($137 billion) and Sony ($71 billion).
Despite its relatively small size, Viacom would boast such strengths as a library of about 140,000 episodes of premium TV and 3,600 film titles. It would also be one of the top spenders on content, with Viacom and CBS having spent $13 billion on content in the last year.
As is usual in mergers of this size, cost-cutting will likely be part of the equation. The New York Post reported that Ianniello mentioned “cost synergies” during an Aug. 13 conference call.
The deal, which is expected to go through with little regulatory difficulty, is expected to close by the 2019 calendar year-end.