Global entertainment powerhouses CBS and Viacom are set to merge, creating a £23bn revenue company, with household brands such as Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures.
The two brands were once under the same umbrella, however, in 2006 they split into two separate corporate entities.
Today’s announcement is seen as a way to tackle an ever-increasingly competitive market. This follows the deal between Disney and Fox, as well as current entertainment rivals Netflix and Amazon.
The merged firm, to be called ViacomCBS, would be controlled by National Amusements, the holding company owned by billionaire Sumner Redstone.
Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company. Bakish said: “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.”
Joe Ianniello, President and Acting Chief Executive Officer, CBS, will become Chairman and CEO of CBS. Ianniello, who will oversee all CBS-branded assets in his new role, said: “This merger brings an exciting new set of opportunities to both companies.
“At CBS, we have outstanding momentum right now – creatively and operationally – and Viacom’s portfolio will help accelerate that progress. I look forward to all we will do together as we build on our ongoing success. And personally, I am pleased to remain focused on CBS’s top priority – continuing our transformation into a global, multiplatform, premium content company.”