CBS and Viacom have reached a long-rumored merger agreement. The two companies announced today that they will reunite as ViacomCBS. According to The Wall Street Journal.
The two firms, which had been part of one company run by media mogul Sumner Redstone until 2006, will recombine as a new entity known as “ViacomCBS Inc.” Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish will become president and CEO of the combined company. Sumner Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone a well-regarded media executive in her own right will become the first chairwoman in Viacom’s history. Joe Ianniello, president and acting CEO at CBS, will become chairman and CEO of CBS.
This is the third time in three years that CBS and Viacom attempted to merge. The companies estimate that the deal will save some $500 million in annualized costs within one to two years of the closing. The merger will combine Viacom properties such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount film and TV studio with CBS’s broadcast network and Showtime premium network.
“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,” Bakish said in a statement. “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.”
The merger is far from a surprise. The media giants originally split in 2006, but rumors that the companies might reunite began circulating by 2016, and they’ve continued over the years. While today’s agreement is significant, it’s too soon to say for sure if the deal will go through.