The board of CBS prepares for contract negotiations with Viacom: Sources

The CBS board prepares merger negotiations with Viacom, people who are familiar with the situation.

The expected talks between the two companies controlled by the Redstone family National Amusements are expected to start in mid-June, although discussions may begin even faster, the sources said. Robert Bakish, CEO of Viacom, is likely to operate the combined unit.

Although there have been no discussions, Shari Redstone, Vice President of CBS and Viacom, has long been married to the two, as the former seems to achieve greater balance. The extra size is likely to help CBS compete for National Football League broadcasting rights to major technology companies such as Amazon and Facebook.

National Amusements has tried twice, but failed to combine the media companies. Should the connection eventually happen, national pleas would probably be about a new deal, people who were familiar with the case, told CNBC earlier this year.

Discovery Communications was, for one, interested in selling to CBS or a combined CBS-Viacom unit, two people familiar with the case told CNBC in January. The company is also expected to continue talks to acquire Starz's premium entertainment network from Lions Gate, CNBC reported last week.

CBS's scaling search comes as big media in the face of continuing hikes to transportation fees, making it harder for those viewers to ditch cable and satellite TV subscriptions in favor of over-the-top and streaming options.

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