CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves is one step closer to becoming CEO of a recombined Viacom and CBS.
On Thursday, Viacom and CBS parent company National Amusements, which is controlled by Sumner Redstone and his daughter, Shari, officially asked the boards of both Viacom and CBS to start exploring a reuniting of the two companies.
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Viacom and CBS have been run separately and together over the course of both their histories. In 2000, Viacom bought CBS and in 2006, CBS was spun back out. At the time, Viacom — with its many cable networks such as Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon — was considered to be the growth opportunity while old-school CBS, with such mature assets as radio and television stations, was thought to be the more stagnant company.
In practice, however, CBS, under the stewardship of the well-respected Moonves, has proved to be the more healthy of the two companies, while Viacom has struggled, especially in the past two years.
Early Thursday, National Amusements sent a letter to board members of both companies to consider re-merging in what would be an all-stock transaction.
Simultaneously, the letter quashed the notion that either company might merge with another entity. According to The Wall Street Journal, Moonves has previously considered attempting to get CBS out from under the National Amusement umbrella by either buying out its shares or merging with another entity, such as Time Warner.
Share prices of both companies were up at the end of trading on Thursday, with CBS gaining nearly 0.8% and Viacom jumping 3.3%.
READ MORE: The Wall Street Journal, Variety
[Image courtesy of Variety]