UPDATE 2: Viacom Rejects Initial Bid From CBS, Will Counter

Wednesday Morning Update: Viacom rejects initial CBS offer

According to CNBC and Hollywood Reporter, Viacom has rejected CBS’ first purchase offer. As previously reported, the two main issues are the valuation and the future role of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish. Viacom is expected to make a counter proposal, with Reuters reporting it may come on Thursday. While there is no specific timetable, both corporations are reportedly interested in finalizing talks before quarterly earning reports in May.

Tuesday Evening Update: CBS makes its opening bid

According to multiple reports, CBS has made a formal offer to acquire Viacom at a valuation that is below Viacom’s current market value. The deal stipulates that current CBS CEO Leslie Moonves would run the combined entity along with CBS COO as second in command. It is not clear where this would lead Viacom’s current CEO Bob Bakish. The Hollywood Reporter outlines the next steps:

Now it will be up to Viacom’s special board committee to respond. One analyst immediately suggested it would push for a premium price and likely also urge the combined company to retain Bakish, given his turnaround efforts and the fact that controlling shareholder National Amusements has been happy with his work.

If the parties come to an agreement, this can bring together the current owners of the Star Trek franchise back under one roof, as they were before Viacom and CBS split in 2006.


Original Article

CBS Readying Bid For Viacom, But Management Issue Has Become Roadblock

We have been following the ongoing merger talks between CBS and Viacom (parent company of Paramount), who share share control of the Star Trek franchise. The financial press are reporting this week that CBS is preparing a low-ball bid for Viacom, which is a bit unusual for mergers, but analysts expect the offer is just a starting point. According to CNBC this morning, the main snag at this point has to do with the management structure of the new combined entity.

It has already been decided that current CBS CEO Leslie Moonves would run the re-merged CBS/Viacom, but there is a debate over who would be the number two in the organization. According to CNBC, Moonves wants his current number two, CBS COO Joe Ianniello to get the job. However, Shari Redstone, who holds controlling stock in both companies, favors Bob Bakish, who has been Viacom’s CEO since 2016.

Viacom could make offer for CBS

Variety is also reporting today that the CBS low-ball bid and Moonves’ management demands could end up creating a situation where the deal is reversed, with Viacom becoming the acquiring entity, noting: “The certainty that the negotiations between the Viacom and CBS boards will be difficult has also raised the prospect of the tables turning with Viacom making an all-stock offer for CBS.”

As noted in previous merger talk updates, the reunification of Viacom and CBS could have a significant impact on the future of the Star Trek franchise. However, these late negotiating points mean little with regards to Trek, except as a reminder that merger is not a done deal. We have been here before, as CBS and Viacom scrapped a proposed merger in late 2016.

TrekMovie will continue to keep an eye on all the corporate action and provide updates when there is something new to report. You can read our previous reports in the CBS/Paramount news category.

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Bob Bakish is incompetent. Hopefully, Moonves will get his way.

What makes you say that? He is big improvement over Dauman, though that’s not saying a lot…

Experience. I used to work there.

Yeah? I still do…

OK. And…?

As the article itself states, whether or not these corporate entities reunite or not won’t likely affect Trek much. The unfortunate bottom line for both the film and TV franchises is that the wrong set of creatives were put in charge—not to mention they share a particularly critical weak link in common—and little is likely to improve until that changes.

“As the article itself states, whether or not these corporate entities reunite or not won’t likely affect Trek much.”

The article doesn’t state that at all. It only says it’s not a done deal but IF it happens, the impact will be huge…

Whether or not the “wrong creatives” were put in charge is a matter of opinion. I liked ST09 and STB, only STID was a tad too “copy-paste” for my taste, and yes, DSC is a great show for a new era. Expanding on new version(s) of the 23rd century seems a lot more interesting than going back to the future for the time being. I’m happy with the way things are progressing, although I’m cautious when it comes to Tarantino’s involvement.

Yeah, it’s a matter of taste all right, Trek 2009 to my mind being a truly godawful, witless embarrassment. DSC is far more intelligent on the surface, but squandered just about all of the considerable potential it had to be the thematically groundbreaking take on the franchise that the producers had promised. Merger or not, at the moment the future of Trek isn’t looking too bright from over here.

“I’ve never seen a promising show collapse under the weight of its poor storytelling decisions like Star Trek: Discovery.” – Chris Thompson, Mashable, echoing similar comments found in Entertainment Weekly, Gizmodo, Ars Technica, Forbes etc.

All too true. The Mashable review in particular must have been a bitter pill for the DSC producers, as the site was an early proponent of the show. Their enthusiastic review of the pilot was in fact one of the first Discovery reviews I read, and it came as a considerable relief after all the online predictions of disaster leading up to the show’s premiere. After watching “Context is for Kings,” I personally had every expectation that it might prove to be the best Trek series since DS9. All that potential wasted over the course of the season, and I still hung in there with my fading hopes till the bitter end.

Who would you rather have then?

Matthew Weiner immediately comes to mind.

Yes! I seriously thought Lorca = Draper.

I mean, I hoped!

If the writing on Discovery was anything *remotely* Near as good as Mad Men, I’d be doing handstands.

I was hoping hard.

Maybe it’s going to get there. I sure as heck hope so.

Isaacs and Hamm bear a striking resemblance

That would be FANTASTIC

I will believe this is actually happening when it does and not before.
Remember, This isn’t the first time that they have talked about merging.

I think there’s considerable pressure to get it done this time, much more than before. Not sure if that alone will be enough to save Viacom, though. It needs to get scooped up by Google, Amazon or some other deep-pocketed conglomerate if it’s going to compete with Disney.

@nscates — I still say it’s going to take a while. With Warner/ATT, Disney/Fox and Sinclair/Tribune hanging out there, and Trump’s foolish tweets exposing his biases and putting a drag on Amazon and tech business in general, big media mergers are going to be under a lot of scrutiny, even for two companies coming back together. Even if it happens, I doubt the merger will be resolved until late next year …

In this present-day climate of corporate favoritism I doubt ANY of the mergers will be disapproved or countered by the US Conglomerate I mean the US Goverment.

It does make me sad that any merger will happen so late in the year.

I wouldn’t want to be the showrunners at Discovery right now. There must be a huge amount of pressure.

Curious Cadet,

Re: I still say it’s going to take a while.

That doesn’t appear to be Shari’s timeframe?:


Viacom lost a huge opportunity when it passed on buying Marvel in favor of an ill-advised stock buyback. That’s billions in revenue and value it would have on the table now.
But the split up with CBS was the biggest mistake in the first place.

Who’s to say Viacom would have done with Marvel what Disney has? Warner’s has had an even bigger and older comic franchise in its pocket for much longer and hasn’t done nearly what Disney has with theirs.

Have to agree with Nachum. Part of the success Marvel has had is that it can utilize what’s at Disney’s fingertips. Marvel films are fun popcorn romps but the Disney backing allows it to gain so much more momentum. Viacom just doesn’t have that. It’s one of those things that makes me wonder, if Disney bought CBS what kind of gigantic push would Trek have gotten? I’m sure we’d see some kind of cool addition to the Disney parks and there’d be animated shows and other opportunities.

I have found myself at times wishing that Disney would make a good offer to CBS and Viacom for both iterations of Trek. Yet … they seem unable to stop themselves from media saturation.

I mean how many flippin Marvel movies have there been this year? I like the actors and the dash they bring to their roles, but the movies are pretty formulaic to me, having seen so many. All that Disney/Marvel are really interested in is my box office dollars, but one day I’ll probably stop seeing them.

[Black Panther was the best Marvel entry since … years ago.] And how many Star Wars movies can Disney crank out …? But dayum Disney does great marketing. The lobby … standees … electronically enhanced interactive displays … wow. Not to mention trailers that come out in theatres SIX MONTHS IN ADVANCE of the release date. Paramount could certainly take a page out of that book!

Of course Trek has suffered from anything BUT market saturation. So that might be nice for a flippin change. I just wonder how much the character of Trek would change …

… oh wait, we’ve been all through that stuff on TrekMovie over the last few years, especially with Discovery. [sigh]

It is absurd that Star Trek is split like it it is. Get it sorted! Star Trek needs to be under one roof, not two!

So you think they’ll be postponing a decision on Trek 14 until then?

This wouldn’t surprise me in all honesty.

I’m really hopeful for this to happen.

I am still hoping for the re-merger between the CBS Corporation and Viacom. It should save the “Star Trek” universe. Hopefully, the re-merged company would be named CBS Paramount.

@DonDonP1 — interesting observation re: branding. CBS is a much stronger name than Viacom, so Viacom is likely gone. Paramount on the other hand is the biggest international name, as there are Paramount branded channels worldwide. Even TV Land is re-branding as the Paramount network. CBS could do worse than to attach Paramount to their name, but more than likely CBS will replace Viacom as the parent company, and the individual units will continue to brand themselves independently. Frankly, CBS should reorganize all of their TV and film divisions under the Paramount brand, leaving CBS as the network entity in the US.

Moonves is the man; he’s especially adept at overseeing, as Kevin Smith puts it, “stuff my mom watches.” (Kevin Smith’s mom is 72; though my mom is 70 and wouldn’t be caught dead watching anything on CBS other than occasionally Steve Kroft.) Moonves launched his streaming service with a spin-off starring Christine Baranski (because kids love Christine Baranski) and a Star Trek show that ended up doing considerable brand-damage to the “crown jewels.” Yes, I realize STD has a few hundred fans who follow Ted Sullivan on Twitter. (BTW, did you know Ted Sullivan thinks racism is bad?) But to put this in perspective, there are also numerous persons alive who are fans of literally eating poo – I saw it on the internet.

This is all bullshit. Viacom has TNG. They did NOTHING with it since the split.
What makes people think they’ll do anything with it NOW after they re-join CBS??


Re: Viacom has TNG

No, it doesn’t. TNG was a television show:

“CBS holds all of the television and merchandising rights…” — SHUTTLEPOD CREW