CBS and Viacom have officially agreed to merge, with Bob Bakish to lead the combined company.
Bakish will lead ViacomCBS Inc. as president and CEO. Joe Ianniello will serve as chairman and CEO of CBS. The all-stock merger creates a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue.
The combined entity will house a portfolio of consumer brands, including CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as one of the largest libraries of IP, spanning every key genre and addressing consumers of all ages and demographics. This library comprises 140,000-plus TV episodes and 3,600-plus film titles. The combined company will also have more than 750 series currently ordered to or in production.
Bakish said: “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. As we look to the future, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead for the combined company and all of our stakeholders—including consumers, the creative community, commercial partners, employees and, of course, our shareholders.”
Ianniello, who will oversee all CBS-branded assets in his new role, said: “This 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.”
Shari Redstone, vice chair of the boards of directors for CBS and Viacom, said: “I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets. My father once said ‘content is king,’ and never has that been more true than today. 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. 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 organization.”
In addition to Bakish and Ianniello, the leadership team of the combined company will include Christina Spade as executive VP and chief financial officer, and Christa D’Alimonte as executive VP, general counsel and secretary.
The board of directors will consist of 13 members: six independent members from CBS, four independent members from Viacom, the president and CEO of ViacomCBS and two National Amusements designees. Redstone will be appointed chair.
Existing CBS shareholders will own approximately 61 percent of the combined company and existing Viacom shareholders will own approximately 39 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.