Monday, May 7, 2018

CBS, Viacom Stalemate Persists

A reunion for CBS Corp. and Viacom remains elusive even as word surfaced Friday that Shari Redstone has offered an alternative scenario on the management question that remains the biggest obstacle to a deal.

According to Variety, sources close to the situation said the CBS Corp. side remains wary of a proposal to have Viacom CEO Bob Bakish shift to a board seat on the combined company with the expectation that he will eventually succeed CBS Corp. Leslie Moonves as CEO.

Redstone, who is controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, has pushed for CBS and Viacom to merge and for Bakish to serve as the No. 2 executive to Moonves. Word of Redstone’s offer was first reported Friday by Reuters.

The stalemate that has persisted for the past two weeks has raised the specter of Redstone moving to replace CBS Corp. board members in an effort to clear a path for a deal with Viacom. Such a move would surely spur the exit of Moonves as chairman and CEO of CBS. There is increasing speculation among CBS watchers that Moonves could leave regardless out of frustration with Redstone’s desire to reunite the companies that were split up in 2006.

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