The leadership at CBS and Viacom have been discussing a potential merger between the two media giants, according to Reuters sources. It’s been reported that earlier this month, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish got together to explore the possibility of a potential merger for both companies. Board members from both companies have scheduled several meetings to continue talks about this topic over the next several weeks.
Both companies are being careful, however. Shari Redstone (pictured above), president of National Amusements, the company that owns both Viacom and CBS, previously tried to bring both companies together in 2016. Due to reservations from director in both companies, potential merger talks fell through. Though two weeks ago, The Wrap reported that merger talks between the two were back, and Reuters sources have said in response that Redstone brought the idea to CBS directors but active merger talks were not taking place.
The latest report from Reuters basically tells us that Moonves has become more open to the idea of a merger between companies and other industry consolidations have made the merger more appealing to gain traction. Previously, Disney purchased 21st Century Fox assets, which may have had a significant influence on the potential merger talks between Viacom and CBS directors.
In November of last year, the FCC had relaxed its restrictions on media consolidations, which opened doors for easier approvals going forward. This of course helped bring merger talks between CBS and Viacom back on the table and looked more appealing from both sides. Even though both companies are exploring the possibility of a merger, there is no guarantee that it may actually go through or be approved by regulators. These talks are preliminary at best, for now.