Mario Gabelli, a major Viacom in addition to CBS shareholder, told CNBC on Friday he might like those media giants to remain separate inside short term.
“I’d like both of them to show their numbers. CBS is actually a loaded laggard,” the billionaire value investor said on “Fast Money Halftime Report.”
“Viacom is actually an even doubly loaded laggard,” added Gabelli, the second-largest holder of Viacom voting shares.
However, the Gamco founder refused to be pinned down on how he might vote if a deal were to be brought to the board. Gabelli’s investment firm has nearly $40.7 billion in assets under management.
National Amusements Inc., which controls the voting shares of Viacom in addition to CBS, has twice tried, in addition to failed, to bring the two media companies back together again to gain scale in a landscape of megadeals galore which year. CBS in addition to Viacom had been under the same umbrella through 2000 to 2006 before they were split into separate publicly traded companies.
Les Moonves, a leading voice in opposition to a merger, was ousted as chairman in addition to chief executive of CBS earlier which month, under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations.
Joseph Ianniello, who had been chief operating officer at the network, took over as acting CEO, while the board started out a search for a permanent successor.
Meanwhile, CBS in addition to NAI, the holding company of Shari Redstone in addition to her family, also agreed to drop their lawsuits against each different, that has a stipulation which NAI in addition to the Redstones won’t pursue a CBS-Viacom deal for at least two years.
Still, which does not prevent the companies through negotiating a deal independently.
Days after Moonves’ departure, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told CNBC which shareholders should focus on his turnaround plans for the media company, not on deal speculation.
Some analysts say a merger with CBS could be more likely with Moonves gone.
“There’s no question which scale is actually valuable,” Bakish acknowledged at the time. however he added, “There are a lot of ways to get the benefits of scale. We’re getting them more in addition to more inside the company.”
On Friday, Gabelli also said on CNBC, “We’re going to tell Shari Redstone: Be the same as the owner, Bob Kraft, of the [brand-new England Patriots].” Using a football analogy, he said, “Stick with your QBs.”
“Ianniello is actually going to follow through on the strategic plan [at CBS]. in addition to Bob Bakish is actually going to do a great job at Viacom,” Gabelli added. “I’m a cheerleader for Shari.”