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US: Owner Shari Redstone wants to combine and sell CBS and Viacom

 |  May 30, 2018

The bitterest boardroom battle in recent memory has turned on a series of slights, verbal jousting and a physical altercation involving hands on a face that could determine the futures of both CBS and Viacom.

Shari Redstone, the controlling owner of CBS, has filed a complaint against the broadcaster and its chief executive Les Moonves in Delaware Chancery court, outlining her version of events in a saga that has pit the former allies against each other.

The filing further reveals Redstone’s master plan for CBS and Viacom, which also falls under her control. After a merger of the two, she proposes selling the united company for a much larger sum than either would fetch separately. She had tinkered with the idea for at least a year, according to sources, but this is the first public indication of that strategy.

Moonves was receptive to Redstone’s plan when she discussed it with him in the second half of last year, people familiar with the meeting say. As of January, he was still “supportive of a possible merger of CBS and Viacom,” according to her complaint.

People close to Moonves dispute the characterization of those meetings, saying the idea of selling a merged CBS and Viacom did not figure into their discussions.

Faced with declining sales at Viacom and the disintegration of the larger media industry under the weight of Facebook and Google’s growing dominance over audiences and advertisers, Redstone felt it was more urgent to consolidate that business with the more successful CBS, several sources say.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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