According to a new report in The Wrap, Viacom Corporation (parent company of Paramount Pictures) and CBS Corporation are considering merging. According to the report, Shari Redstone, who is vice-chairwoman of both companies and president of National Amusements, which holds stakes in both, is “pursuing a merger.”
Viacom spun off CBS as a separate corporation in 2005, with the new CBS also including premium cable channel Showtime and publisher Simon & Schuster. Viacom kept control of most of the cable TV channels (such as MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central) as well as Paramount Pictures.
The CBS/Viacom split also rather dramatically affected the Star Trek franchise, with Paramount retaining ownership of the film library and right to make new movies while CBS got the rest, including the TV library and rights, and consumer products licensing for anything Trek-related. Re-merging would bring the Star Trek franchise back under a single corporation, bringing the possibility of more synergy with the brand and possible future film and TV projects.
According to the report, Redstone has concluded that “a bigger footprint is necessary.” Relative to other media companies like Time Warner, Comcast and Disney, both CBS and Viacom are dwarfed in size. In recent years CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has dismissed the idea of the companies re-merging, however according to the report he is now “open to the possibility”, due to recent media company consolidation and Moonves being the most likely person to run the newly merged entity.
None of the parties involved are commenting on the record about potential merger talks, but shares of both CBS and Viacom have spiked based on the report. If a deal does happen, it may take a while. Variety is reporting that it “is not on a fast track.”
TrekMovie will report on any updates to this developing story.