The most anticlimactic media merger of the decade is finally here.
After years of negotiations, false starts, and infighting between company executives, Viacom and CBS Corp. said today that they are merging to become a single entity called ViacomCBS. Bob Bakish, currently the president and CEO of Viacom, will lead the new company, which has combined revenues of more than $28 billion, the companies said.
The all-stock merger still needs regulatory approval, but that shouldn’t be a problem at a time when the gravitational pull of media consolidation is creating larger and larger overseers of entertainment content. The Viacom-CBS deal will put under one roof a broad array of intellectual property owned by the likes of CBS, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, and others, along with the distribution engines of CBS All Access and the Pluto TV streaming service.
Under the deal, CBS shareholders will own 61% of the new company, while Viacom shareholders get the remaining 39%.
Although the merger was years in the making (the two companies were combined until CBS spun off from Viacom in 2006), the new name may take some time to sink in. I made the mistake of visiting ViacomCBS dot com, but the domain doesn’t seem to exist. Instead, you’re greeted with a generic landing page and a scary browser message saying “Not Safe.” Don’t try that at home, kids.
You can read all about ViacomCBS here.