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CBS and Viacom Strike Deal for Long-Thwarted Merger



CBS
Corp


CBS.A 2.29%

and

Viacom
Inc.


VIA -6.02%

agreed to merge, a deal the media companies hope will put them on a stronger footing to compete with bigger rivals in a business that is beaten of cable TV cable and increasingly dominated by streaming.

All-share deal, if completed, will reunite the media empire mogul

Sumner Redstone,

which had split CBS and Viacom in 2006. It will create a major entertainment player worth about $ 30 billion, combining Viacom properties such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount film and TV studios with CBS's broadcast network and Showtime premium network.

Companies are now betting that merging together will help them fight for titans who

Walt Disney
Co.

,

Comcast
Corp

,

AT&T
Inc.

and Netflix Inc. and remain relevant when consumers sign up for streaming video services and pay TV distributors look to cut the fees they pay to programmers.

Shari Redstone,

Mr. Redstone's daughter and deputy chairman of both companies will be chairman of the board of the overall company, say people close to the discussions. The deal would cement Redstone's status as a powerful media mogul.

She controls both CBS and Viacom along with the father, through their family holding company National Amusements Inc.

Bob Bakish,

currently CEO of Viacom, would become CEO of the overall unit, while CBS acting CEO

Joe Ianniello

wanted to run CBS-branded assets, the people said.

Under the agreement, Viacom shareholders will receive 0.59625 CBS shares for each share they own. The company is named ViacomCBS.

The agreement values ​​Viacom slightly below market value, which was around $ 1

2 billion on August 9. It has been the weakest of the two media companies in recent years, and the share had risen this year, partly on speculation about a CBS deal.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

Copyright © 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8


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