After three years of negotiations, CBS and Viacom are coming together to form a new $30 billion company, controlled by Shari Redstone and cementing her status as possibly the most influential woman in media. The merger comes at a time when upheaval in the traditional pay-TV market and the rise of digital streaming services have changed the economics of the entertainment industry and pressured media companies to either grow larger or sell themselves off. With streaming video companies like Netflix now the leading story, CBS and Viacom are fusing their war chests to better compete in the rapidly morphing world of TV and film watching. But the combined company will still be far smaller that many of the media titans that it will need to compete with. “Will they be big enough?” said Jessica Reif Ehrlich, senior media and entertainment analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “It may enhance the strategic positioning of CBS-Viacom, but will it be enough? Scale matters.” The culmination of the merger is the result of the tenacity of Redstone, who is vice chairman of the two companies and the daughter of ailing Viacom founder Sumner Redstone, now 96. Redstone deferred management to Shari in… Read full this story
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