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CBS, Viacom merge to form ViacomCBS Inc

Bob Bakish to lead the company as president and CEO

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MUMBAI: US-based media and broadcasting companies, CBS and Viacom, have announced the news of a merger into Viacom CBS Inc. While Viacom will hold approximately 39 per cent of the shares, CBS will own about 61 per cent on a fully diluted basis.

The all-stock merger creates a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue, as suggested by media reports.

Erstwhile CEO of Viacom, Bob Bakish will lead the new entity as president and CEO.

Media proprietor and chairman & CEO of CBS Joseph Ianniello will continue in his role.

Other key employments include Christina Spade as executive VP and chief financial officer, and Christa D’Alimonte as executive VP, general counsel and secretary.

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 designees. Shari Redstone will be appointed chair.

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 maximise 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.”

Ianniello 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.”

Vice chair of the boards of directors for CBS and Viacom Shari Redstone said, “I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realise the incredible power of their combined assets. My father once said ‘content is king,’ and never has that been more true than today. Through CBS and Viacom’s shared passion for premium content and innovation, we will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organisation that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry. Led by a talented leadership team that is excited by the future, ViacomCBS’s success will be underpinned by a commitment to strong values and a culture that empowers our exceptional people at all levels of the organisation.”

The combined entity will house a portfolio of consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as one of the largest libraries of IP, spanning every key genre and addressing consumers of all ages and demographics. This library comprises 140,000-plus TV episodes and 3,600-plus film titles. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production.

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