CBS and Viacom Reportedly Target Deadline for a Merger Deal

CBS Television City

CBS Television City

The will-they-won’t-they between CBS and Viacom may be coming to a close sooner rather than later.

CNBC ran a report yesterday, saying that the two companies are targeting a deadline of August 8th for a deal, according to “people familiar with the matter”. What’s so special about August 8th? It just so happens that that’s the day that both CBS and Viacom are expected to report their second-quarter earnings.

The CNBC report said that both companies have conceptually agreed that a deal makes sense, but that the details of the deal are far from set. CNBC cites management issues and pricing as two major hurdles. Outside of those issues, the talks are expected to focus on the forward strategy of the combined company, CNBC said. The newly-merged entity could focus on expansion of its existing streaming services, such as CBS All Access, or it could focus on selling programming and collecting license fees, a strategy which has been a successful cornerstone of CBS’s recent performance. Either way, a deal, once reached, could close quickly, since both companies are controlled by National Amusements, led by Sumner Redstone.

Watch this space.

Alison Pitt