CBS and Viacom agree billion-dollar merger to challenge Disney and Netflix

CBS Viacom reach deal to reunite Sumner Redstone's media empire

CBS will be the acquiring company, with its shareholders owning 61% of the combined ViacomCBS; Viacom will own 39%.

The merger was seen by both companies as a way to better compete in an entertainment business that has been racked by cord cutting and in which the move to streaming is seen as the wave of the future.

The merger will combine the CBS television network, CBS News, Showtime cable networks with MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount movie studios.

Bob Bakish, chief executive of Viacom, will assume that post in the newly-combined company, while Joe Ianniello, acting chief executive at CBS, will become chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing CBS-branded assets.

The deal represents a coming together of two disparate arms of the vast media holdings owned and controlled by Sumner Redstone and his daughter, Shari - who will be the vice chair of the CBS and Viacom board of directors - under the umbrella of the privately held National Amusements.

Joe Ianniello, now acting head of CBS, will oversee the CBS side of the business. At CBS, we have outstanding momentum right now - creatively and operationally - and Viacom's portfolio will help accelerate that progress.

Once the deal is completed, expected by the end of the year, ViacomCBS will have a combined library with more than 140,000 TV episodes and 3,600 film titles, including franchises such as "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible". It had been reported that CBS and Viacom would make the merger official on the 8th of August but talks continue delaying the announcement until today.

According to the two companies, the new media conglomerate will have 22 percent of the USA television viewing audience, larger than Disney, Comcast and other major rivals. Viacom and CBS are largely not direct competitors, and the U.S. Justice Department recently lost its challenge to the AT&T takeover of Time Warner.

Reunited and it feels so good: CBS and Viacom, two companies which were once joined but have spent almost thirteen years operating as separate entities, are now merging once again.

Fourteen years after their split, CBS is reuniting with Viacom in a merger that will likely increase content offered to streaming subscribers.

"The combined company will have the best of both worlds, premium USA programming that seamlessly travels across borders and hundreds of thousands of hours of locally produced global programming, all available with the click of a button", he said. Under an agreement, Shari Redstone agreed not to push for a reunion for at least two years, but that left open the possibility of CBS itself pushing for it.

"We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry", Redstone said.

The stock exchange ratio - the final stumbling block in the days leading up to the deal - has been set at 0.59625 CBS shares for each share of Viacom.

According to Bloomberg, CBS had been mulling over its next steps following the ousting of former CEO Leslie Moonves over sexual misconduct allegations. He acquired control of the company in 1987 and purchased CBS in 1999.