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US: The CBS-Viacom merger is off

 |  December 12, 2016

Sumner and Shari Redstone have reversed their marching orders for CBS and Viacom, telling the two companies that they should stop exploring the merger that the family had all but demanded just three months ago.

On Monday, Mr. Redstone, the ailing 93-year old media mogul, and Ms. Redstone, his daughter, sent a letter to the boards of the two media companies stating that “after careful assessment and meetings with the leadership of both companies, we have concluded that this is not the right time to merge the companies.”

The Redstones said they had been impressed with the “forward-looking thinking and strategic plan” under the leadership of Robert Bakish, who has been the interim chief executive of Viacom for about a month. Viacom is deeply troubled, facing steep declines in profits as its television and film business has struggled.

The Redstones stated that “CBS continues to perform exceptionally well under Les Moonves,” the chairman, president and chief executive of CBS Corporation. “We have every reason to believe that momentum will continue on a stand-alone basis,” they said.

The Redstone family controls about 80 percent of the voting stock in CBS and Viacom through National Amusements, the private theater chain company started by Mr. Redstone’s father.

Full Content: New York Times

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