SUN VALLEY, Idaho – While the resort town of Sun Valley is abuzz with anticipation of potential mergers between mega-media companies, Shari Redstone is keeping a tight lid on the deal she has been pushing for years: The merger of CBS and Viacom – both controlled by her father’s holding company, National Amusements Inc.
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“I never talk,” she told FOX Business’ Lydia Moynihan, before demurring on other details of the transaction that are being hammered out today in New York, such as who will become CEO of the new company.
Viacom and CBS are key parts for the media empire cobbled together by Shari’s father, Sumner Redstone. They were spun out as separate companies in 2006, though National Amusements remains the controlling shareholder.
Shari, with her ailing father, began an effort to combine CBS and Viacom in 2016, a move resisted by then-CBS CEO Les Moonves. A court settlement delayed any move by Shari to force a merger until 2020.
But with Moonves out of the picture (resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations) and a lack of other available buyers, the CBS-Viacom talks restarted in the spring, as FOX Business was first to report.
Now, as Shari is hobnobbing with the moguls in Sun Valley, the new CBS acting chief Joe Ianniello and Viacom CEO Robert Bakish are actively engaged in merger negotiations back in New York, FOX Business has learned.
No announcements are expected this week on the deal, but the progress in the talks is said to be real: Management is engaged in discussions on deal price and the management structure of the new company.
Of course, the deal could blow up as it has in the past, but if the current negotiations continue, some announcement on its progress and even potential terms could be made in the coming weeks.
Spokesmen from CBS and Viacom had no comment.