CBS, Viacom reach merger deal

CBS, Viacom reach merger deal
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Top media companies CBS and Viacom have agreed to merge, setting the stage for a combined entertainment company with more than $28 billion in revenue.

In a statement on Tuesday, the companies announced the combined company — ViacomCBS Inc — will control an extensive library of content as well as a portfolio that includes CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network.

The merger will help both Viacom and CBS compete with rivals such as Netflix, WarnerMedia, Comcast and AT&T.

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“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," Bob Bakish, the current president and CEO of Viacom who is set to become the president and CEO of the combined company, said in a statement.

Both companies are controlled by National Amusements Inc, which is owned by the family of media mogul Shari Redstone. Redstone is currently the vice chairwoman of the CBS and Viacom boards of directors.

“Through CBS and Viacom’s shared passion for premium content and innovation, we will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry," Redstone said in a statement.

The CBS-Viacom merger had been long-awaited but a series of obstacles — including the ouster of CBS CEO Les Moonves amid a deluge of sexual harassment allegations — had stalled the process.

According to the announcement on Tuesday, ViacomCBS will have the ability to offer more than 140,000 TV episodes and more than 3,600 movies. 

CBS and Viacom were split up in 2006 but will combine again amid the intensifying pressures brought on by streaming and other media mega-mergers. 

--Updated at 2:47 p.m.