What's Next for CBS-Viacom? Buying Discovery Communications? Acquiring Sony Pictures? Reports say Shari Redstone says, "yes!"
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Now that CBS and Viacom have formally announced their merger, the President of National Amusements who owns controlling shares in both companies, Redstone, is poised for more acquisitions and growth. Redstone's targets are set on players Sony Pictures and Discovery Communications according to reporting by NBC news.
At a recent digital media conference in June, Redstone hinted at her plans for scaling her media empire after merging CBS and Viacom, “If these companies come together, we would probably want to look at something after that and to develop scale and be transformative as we move forward.” The reason is simple: to compete with larger media and tech giants from Disney to AT&T to Netflix.
John Ford, former president of Discovery explains exclusively to Fox Business why this move for both companies makes sense, “Discovery is strong globally with networks all over the world. I think a merger with CBS would be good for Discovery and for CBS. The key thing is it is in the interest of medium size companies to get bigger, so I think it is a good fit."
Newly merged CBS Viacom has plenty of equity to work with while shopping for new companies as it enjoys a combined market value of about $32 Billion. Redstone’s growth has a ways to go before catching up with tech monster Netflix who boasts a market value of around $142.7 billion.
The latest merger also provides Redstone with more leverage in the form of titles, services and platforms to license other content on an international market from new media platforms.
Adding Discovery’s channels would improve upon Viacom’s already impressive list including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, CMT and VH1 as well as streaming server PlutoTV. Discovery owns popular HGTV and Food Network on cable TV along with Eurosport, while Sony -- through its TV and movie studios -- also has a wide range of entertainment channels worldwide.
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Sony Pictures is one of the few bright spots of the summer movie season. It is the studio behind the smash Quentin Tarantino directed-film, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio which has grossed $109 million at the box office worldwide.
While both Sony and Discovery have stated that they are not for sale according to reporting by NBC News, Ford doesn't seem to feel the companies not being in the market is an issue. “I don’t think that if a company like Discovery is eager to merge with another company, that it will say that it is for sale.You don’t want to appear over eager because you want to negotiate the price, Ford explains.
"And they may not be however, it really depends on John Malone, Discovery's most influential share holder and what his feelings are. He has got other assets like Lion’s Gate so he maybe thinking of merging Discovery with some of those assets as well."