Tuesday, August 13, 2019

BREAKING. After 3 years of talks and 13 years apart, Viacom and CBS have reached a deal to merge again as ViacomCBS.

After 3 years of talks and negotiations following 13 years as split companies, another mega-merger is looming after the media giants Viacom and CBS have agreed to reunite in a United States deal with will have an impact on South Africa and the African continent as well.

On Tuesday CBS and Viacom that separated 13 years ago, announced that Viacom - that umbrellas Viacom's Paramount film studio and its pay-TV channels available in Africa like MTV, MTV Base, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central - will merge with the broadcaster CBS, with the CBS Corporation that has the Showtime pay-TV channel and a 50%-stake in the CW broadcast network.

Viacom runs several linear TV channels as a channels supplier across Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa through Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), while M-Net acquires and shows Showtime and CW series across its range of channels on DStv, as well as streaming series produced for CBS's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in America like The Good Fight and Tell Me a Story.

The combined Viacom-CBS conglomerate that will be known as ViacomCBS will now be lead by Robert M. Bakish who has been Viacom's CEO, with Joseph Ianniello, who has been the CBS acting CEO who will remain in place as the CEO and chairperson of a newly-designed CBS unit, says ViacomCBS in a statement released late on Tuesday.

CBS chief financial officer Christina Spade will serve as the CFO of ViacomCBS.

Shari Redstone will be the chairperson of ViacomCBS.

Viacom and CBS used to exist as Viacom until their split in 2006 but the combined ViacomCBS will now reach more than 4.3 billion pay-TV subscribers around the world.

ViacomCBS says that it now "has an opportunity to expand globally by leveraging its existing strength in both subscription and ad-supported offerings, combined library, content production capabilities and international infrastructure".

"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," said Shari Redstone in a statement.

"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."

Bob Bakish in the statement says "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."

“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."

Joseph Ianniello in the statement says that the 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."