Yet another major media merger is officially happening. After years of whispers, months of discussions and days of last-round intense negotiations, CBS and Viacom have agreed to terms on a multi-billion merger. This means that the two powerful media companies will be housed under one roof, further consolidating a media landscape that has seen similar high-profile mergers force other companies to make these moves so that they may remain competitive in this brave new world.
The deal is expected to officially close by year's end. The companies will now go by the name ViacomCBS Inc. The all-stock deal values Viacom at just shy of $12 billion, whereas CBS is valued at $18 billion. Combined, that gives the media players a whole lot more power to compete with the likes of Disney, WarnerMedia and Netflix in the future. Shari Redstone, chairman of the new company, had this to say in a statement.
"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."
This follows in the footsteps of other recent, massive mergers. Disney purchased the majority of Fox's media assets in a landmark $71.3 billion deal, which went into effect in March. Warner Bros. also merged with AT&T recently, which resulted in one of the biggest media conglomerates on the planet. While Viacom and CBS will have a great deal more power when combined, they've still got some catching up to do.
It's estimated the companies will have a combined value in the ballpark of $50 billion. Still, that puts them far behind the likes of Disney ($315 billion), WarnerMedia ($453 billion) and Netflix ($143 billion). Comcast/NBC ($305 billion) is also way ahead, in terms of overall valuation. No doubt, like other similar mergers, this is a play for the future, which will be dominated by streaming services. Bob Bakish, who will serve as President and CEO of ViacomCBS, had this to say in a statement.
"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."
As far as assets go, franchises like Mission: Impossible and Transformers, which were housed under Viacom's Paramount Pictures, are now in play. There's also strong brand power in the likes of Nickelodeon and MTV. It's also important as this unites the TV and movie rights for the Star Trek franchise, which had previously been split between the two companies, with CBS controlling the small screen rights and Viacom holding the big screen rights. This news was previously reported by Variety.