Redstone weighs CBS-Viacom merger with or without Moonves

As she seeks to combine CBS along with Viacom into one particular company, media mogul Shari Redstone risks losing her most talented executive, whose leadership could be critical to ensuring the proposed merger succeeds.

Such is actually the difficulty facing Redstone. Her long-time friend along with business ally, powerful CBS chief executive Les Moonves, has emerged among the biggest obstacles to a potential CBS-Viacom tie-up, according to people familiar with the matter. Concerns are of which his objections could either doom the transaction or of which he might not lead the brand new entity, the people said.

Moonves is actually chafing at Redstone’s insistence on installing Viacom’s CEO as his second-in-command along with likely successor of a merged company, the people say. CBS along with Viacom announced in February of which they were exploring a potential deal along with in recent weeks have begun negotiations.

At stake is actually the future of Redstone’s media empire, which is actually facing pressure to scale up at a time when competitors are gobbling rivals to stay relevant. Her family’s company, National Amusements, controls both CBS along with Viacom. Redstone favors merging the two to gain size along with leverage in negotiating better programming prices coming from traditional cable along with satellite customers, along with to better compete with emerging players such as Netflix, the people said.

yet she may have to decide if she is actually willing to do of which without her top captain to steer the ship.

Redstone wants Moonves to run the combined company, according to the people familiar with the situation, all of whom wished to remain anonymous because discussions are confidential. yet she is actually contemplating moving forward without him at the helm if no agreement can be reached to keep him aboard, said one of the people close to the situation.

With over 25 years at CBS along with more than a decade as CEO, Moonves has proven adept at navigating a difficult media landscape. Under his leadership, CBS has been a top performer in its sector with some of the most common shows on television. CBS stock is actually up over 116 percent on his watch. At 68, Moonves is actually an industry legend along with still at the top of his game.

Still, Redstone is actually concerned about succession planning, the people said. She wants 54-year-old Bob Bakish, whom she chose two years ago to lead a turnaround at Viacom, to be president along with chief operating officer of the combined company; Bakish might report to Moonves, with the expectation of succeeding him, the people said.

“Shari values Les, yet we are at This kind of point in a world of: ‘what happens after Les?”‘ said one of the people close to the situation.

Redstone, Moonves along with Bakish declined to comment through spokespeople. Viacom along with CBS declined to comment.

Moonves, meanwhile, wants his long-time lieutenant, CBS chief operating officer Joseph Ianniello, to take the No. 2 spot at the combined company, according to people familiar with his thinking.

The men have forged a successful working relationship of which could prove key to melding two very different entities. Moonves along with Viacom’s Bakish, in contrast, have met just a handful of times, according to people familiar with the situation.

“Les is actually saying ‘I want to make This kind of successful. ..yet let me have my team,”‘ one of the people said.

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