In a move that had been previously anticipated, National Amusements Inc., the majority stakeholder in both CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. voting stock that's controlled by Sumner Redstone, has asked both companies to consider a merger. In a letter to board members, National Amusements said it believes the combined company would better respond to the challenges of the entertainment and media landscape and suggests an all-stock transaction in which stakeholders would receive shares in the new company of the same class as those they currently hold. Should the transaction move forward, Sumner Redstone, Shari Redstone and David Andelman would not vote as directors, the letter said, and National Amusements would not support any acquisition from a third party or any deal that would entail National Amusements surrendering its controlling position in the individual companies or the combined company. CBS shares are unchanged in premarket trading, but up 39% for the past year. Viacom shares are up 0.5% in premarket trading, but down 14.6% for the last 12 months. The S&P 500 Index is up 15.3% for the previous year.
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