Viacom and CBS today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger, creating a combined company with more than USD 28 billion in revenue. The new company will be led by Bob Bakish as President and CEO. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close by the 2019 calendar year end.
“Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry. Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale – for our own platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come. As we look to the future, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead for the combined company and all of our stakeholders – including consumers, the creative community, commercial partners, employees and, of course, our shareholders”, said Bakish.
The merger agreement establishes that existing CBS shareholders will own approximately 61% of the combined company and existing Viacom shareholders will own approximately 39% of the combined company. According to what was officially reported, the Board of Directors will consist of 13 members: six independent members from CBS, four independent members from Viacom, the President and CEO of ViacomCBS and two National Amusements, Inc. (NAI) designees. Shari Redstone will be appointed Chair.
The combined company will be a scale player globally, with leadership positions in markets across the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. This includes the largest TV business in the U.S., with the highest share of broadcast and cable viewing across all key audience demographics, and strength in every key category, including News, Sports, General Entertainment, Pop Culture, Comedy, Music and Kids. The new company will possess a portfolio of powerful consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, together with more than a 750 series, 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 film titles content catalog. Together, the combined company will be positioned to accelerate and expand its direct-to-consumer strategy through its proven and diverse portfolio of both subscription and ad-supported offerings, including CBS All Access, Showtime, Pluto TV, CBSN, ET Live and Noggin.