The battle between one of the nation’s most powerful media CEOs and a premier media investment bank shows no signs of cooling down.
The FOX Business Network has learned that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who may soon become CEO of a combined Viacom and CBS, has not been invited to Allen & Co.'s annual summer media and finance conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
That's a major snub.
The media executive conference features a who’s who of power players, ranging from Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg to Rupert Murdoch to former CBS CEO Les Moonves and Bakish’s ultimate boss Shari Redstone who runs the controlling company, National Amusements Inc.
However, Bakish and Allen & Co butted heads last year over financing with the proposed Scripps Networks Interactive deal. He complained to Viacom’s board about Allen & Co. and sought to get it removed as a banker or adviser on any Viacom deal. After that happened, Allen & Co. denied him an invitation to Sun Valley.
An Allen & Co. executive who handles media inquiries did not respond to request for comment. A Viacom spokesman declined to comment but would not deny the report.
The Allen & Co. diss comes at a sensitive time as Bakish’s power in the media business may be growing.
As FBN was first to report, CBS and Viacom are locked in discussions about merging the two properties that are controlled by National Amusements. CBS has in the past, under Moonves, rebuffed attempts by Shari Redstone to combine the two entities after two years of legal wrangling and Moonves' ouster.
What makes Allen & Co.’s snub so unusual is that if Bakish does become CEO, he will become one of the most powerful media executives in the country—should that happen he will likely look to financiers other than Allen & Co.
It is still possible that Allen & Co. could have a change of heart as its popular media conference approaches. But as of now, with just two months left before the conference, Bakish has not received an invitation.
Ironically, if CBS and Viacom do merge it could be announced around the time of the conference and would captivate the discussion among media executives there.