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CBS & Viacom Inching Closer to Merger, With Viacom CEO Bob Bakish as New Chief

Jason Gurwin

As the self-prescribed August 8th deadline of a potential Viacom/CBS merger comes closer, it appears that the two companies are making progress. One of the major hold-ups was determining who would be in charge of the combined company. According to reports, it appears that Viacom CEO, Bob Bakish, will lead the new company, while Interim CBS CEO Joe Ianniello would oversee all CBS-branded networks.

The companies were previously one, but split in 2006, when former Chief, Sumner Redstone, thought they would grow faster as separate entities.

CBS owns the most-watch broadcast network in the United States, as well as the premium cable network Showtime and streaming service CBS All Access, but is small in comparison to many of its peers, who have all bulked up through deals of their own. For example, NBC is owned by the Comcast Corporation — worth about 10 times what CBS is — and ABC is owned by Disney, which is worth about 12 times more than the CBS Corporation currently is.

Viacom is the owner of Paramount, as well as the collection of cable channels like MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central. While they own free ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV, which they purchased for $340 million in January, they have primarily become an arms dealer for other streaming services. They’ve created Jack Ryan for Amazon, 13 Reasons Why for Netflix, and Catch-22 for Hulu.

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