CBS Still Talking to Starz, Will Talk to Viacom in June

The story of “CBS wants to buy stuff” is apparently the story that’s not going away any time soon.

A piece from CNBC yesterday says that the deal-in-progress I told you about on Monday - which would see CBS buy cable network Starz - is still very much in progress. Quoting the piece: “CBS is expected to continue talks in the coming weeks with Lions Gate about buying Starz, the premium entertainment network Lions Gate owns, according to people familiar with the matter. [...] No banks have been hired yet, as talks are still early and a deal is far from assured, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.”

The piece went on to add that CBS is likely to start up talks with Viacom again soon, saying: “Whether or not a Starz deal happens, CBS plans to continue its merger discussions with Viacom, which should heat up in June, according to people familiar with the matter. CBS and Viacom controlling owner Shari Redstone is intent on adding scale to CBS, in part so it can afford to renew NFL broadcast rights against much larger bidders.”

The CNBC piece was careful to add: “Spokespeople at Lions Gate and CBS declined to comment.”

People familiar with the matter of me writing this story say: “Watch this space”.

Alison Pitt