CBS and Viacom announced a deal in August that is expected to close late this year, creating a new company, ViacomCBS Inc. Ms. Redstone, president of National Amusements Inc., the holding company that controls Viacom and CBS, dismissed concerns that ViacomCBS will be too small compared with Walt Disney Co. , Netflix Inc., AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia and other media giants.
|Shari Redstone (WSJ Photo)|
“We can compete with the best of them—not only do we create a quantity of content, we actually create content people actually want to watch,” she said, speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif.
Ms. Redstone said the companies spend a combined $13 billion a year on content and have 22% of TV viewership in the U.S. “I don’t think we’re given credit for what our future is,” she said.
Investors haven’t reacted well to the proposed merger. Viacom and CBS shares are down some 23% since the August announcement, which has shaved about $7 billion off the roughly $30 billion valuation of the combined companies at the time of the deal.
Asked why Wall Street has punished the stocks, Ms. Redstone said the traditional media industry in general is subject to a lot of questions. “The landscape is changing for everybody,” she said.
She also said ViacomCBS has to show that it can meld the two cultures and get everyone on the same page.
“We have to prove that we can execute on that strategy in order to get the confidence of the market,” she said.