CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves told FOX Business he is laser focused on boosting the media company’s content library, but he will likely do that organically versus through a large scale acquisition. "We're just always looking to expand our content, but we have no plans to make a move for a company at the moment” said Moonves while attending the high-profile Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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That said Moonves is paying close attention to the deal making within the media sector including AT&T’s (NYSE:T) pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and expects the deal to win regulatory approval. Investors and bankers have debated whether President Trump’s acidic relationship with Time Warner’s cable unit CNN could taint the deal in Washington, however Moonves told FOX Business he does not think that it will have any bearing.
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Moonves is no stranger to tumultuous situations, he has remained focused on running CBS, which is controlled by Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari through their National Amusements holding company. Sumner’s declining health made tabloid headlines last year and ultimately it became a factor in the corporate shake-up of Viacom (NYSE:VIA), the other media assets controlled by the father-daughter team through the same holding company.
Shari Redstone was behind a group that ousted chief Philippe Dauman last year. At the time, FOX Business reported that she had explored combining CBS and Viacom. And while Moonves wasn’t necessarily against such a deal then, he raised questions about Viacom’s valuation, at the time around $18 billion, and whether combining the two would benefit CBS shareholders, sources told FOX Business.
“For CBS to want to take on Viacom, Les Moonves would have to be incented and there is absolutely no incentive for him to do so,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst for Pivotal Research Group last August. “What’s in it for him? He’s got a good business. It’s doing fine. He is in a better position to sell his company to someone else and from his perspective, adding Viacom would be a mess.”