CBS and Viacom board members worked most of the weekend in an effort to reach a long-awaited merger agreement for the two halves of the Redstone media empire.
Sources close to the situation said that the sides have made progress since Friday in unraveling some of the final details of the bond between the media conglomerates, both controlled by the Redstone family's holding company National Amusements. A principled deal could be announced as early as Monday, although sources warned that with negotiations stretching late on Sunday evening, an announcement in the morning before the market opens on Monday could be ambitious. Nevertheless, several sources close to the situation expressed optimism that the deal would cross the finish line after the third attempt in as many years.
Of several accounts, the biggest recent obstacle is the stock market relationship that will set the final price for the stock. In a previous round of negotiations in early 201
Sales discussions this time are believed to hover on a $ 13 billion neighborhood Viacom valuation, while the CBS page claims the merger premium has been baked into Viacom's stock price in recent months amid market speculation that the companies would eventually come together.
CBS and Viacom were merged by Sumner Redstone in 2000, but split again in 2006. Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements and deputy head of CBS and Viacom boards, has called for the reunification to strengthen both companies.
The boards have also obtained the final details from a management team and a new board that would mix representatives of Viacom and CBS. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will take the helm of the combined company. CBS's acting CEO Joe Ianniello is understood to be in line with a top job running CBS-branded assets.
The CBS-Viacom judiciary has had a violent history, such as the outbreak of litigation last year during the previous CBS leadership regime led by Leslie Moonves, who again opposed the merger. Moonves was removed in September during the allegations of sexual misconduct and CBS's board of directors was also overhauled. CBS and Viacom's current directors all have incentives to push hard for price, as the agreement is guaranteed to be examined for possible shareholder matters.
Representatives of CBS, Viacom and National Amusements declined to comment.