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CBS-Viacom Merger Imminent As Sides Agree On Price – Deadline


CBS and Viacom have agreed to a price for their long-awaited merger and plan to formalize the deal with an announcement after the close of trading today, sources tell Deadline.

The “exchange ratio” — how many shares of each company will be traded in the all-stock translation — had been a major consideration in negotiations over recent days. The boards of each company have agreed to a ratio of 0.59625 shares of CBS stock for each full share of Viacom. People familiar with the talks confirmed the figure, which was initially reported by Bloomberg and Reuters.

The sources cautioned that final issues could delay or derail an agreement. Barring any complications, a formal announcement and conference call with investors would be held Tuesday afternoon.

CBS’ stock is up nearly 3% in trading today while Viacom was more than 1% as part of a broader market upswing. The stocks of both companies had declined Monday.

CBS and Viacom reps declined to comment on the status of the talks.

The reunification plan comes after three years of start-and-stop negotiations. The companies operated under the same corporate roof from 2000-2006.

The deal is a vindication of the strategic guidance of Shari Redstone, head of National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom. Redstone has advocated for the merger for several years, though she wound up clashing in court with former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who resisted a deal over concerns that his company’s fate would be tied to the then-sinking fortunes of Viacom. He also objected to Viacom CEO Bob Bakish being positioned as the combined entity’s No. 2 executive.

Bakish is expected to be named the head of the merged company. Moonves was ousted from CBS in September 2018 amid a welter of sexual assault allegations from a dozen women.

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