CBS and Viacom Announce Merger

CBS and Viacom have announced official plans to merge the two media companies. CBS was a part of Viacom until 2005 when Viacom announced plans to split the two companies into distinct corporate entities. New and separate CBS and Viacom companies launched in 2006. The merger bolsters both companies presence during an era of corporate consolidation leading to the dominance of media juggernauts. While the combined company is still small in comparison to the size of Disney -- itself small compared to tech companies like Amazon, which are expanding into the entertainment sector -- the merger does bring together the most-watched US broadcast network with popular cable channels including MTV and Nickelodeon and film studio Paramount Pictures.

Bob Bakish, president/CEO of Viacom, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company, which will be known as ViacomCBS, Inc. "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. 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."

Joe Ianniello, the president/acting CEO of CBS, will become Chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS-branded assets. "This merger brings an exciting new set of opportunities to both companies," Ianello said. "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 board 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."

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Disclosure: is part of CBS Interactive, a division of CBS.