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Bakish Outlines More Synergies Between Viacom-CBS Assets

Just days after the merger of Viacom and CBS was completed, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish announced several ways the two companies’ assets will be working together.

Speaking at the UBS conference for media investors and analysts Monday, Bakish also said that CBS’s iconic Black Rock headquarters in Manhattan will likely be divested.

”That value can be better put to use elsewhere,” Bakish said, adding that the building was not necessarily the only asset that could be sold. Bakish noted that in terms of acquisitions, “there was no asset we have to own.”

In spelling out new opportunities for synergies between Viacom and CBS assets, Bakish said that CBS’s Late, Late Show with James Corden will re-run the next day on Comedy Central.

When CBS airs the Grammys, Viacom cable channels will be running wraparound programming, creating additional advertising opportunities, Bakish said.

Paramount is providing additional programming assets to CBS All Access and Showtime, including some Tom Clancy movies and Top Gun. CBS All Access will also be benefiting from Viacom property programming including Nickelodeon.

CBS’s Network 10 in Australia and Viacom’s Channel 5 in the U.K. are collaborating on a new drama called Breathless.

As was previously reported, CBS is contributing streaming channels to Viacom’s Pluto TV.

Putting Viacom together with CBS should also create additional leverage with distributors. Viacom's networks are currently not on some of the virtual multichannel video programming distributors that CBS is, but CBS's deals with two of them are up in 2020, Bakish said. "There should be an opportunity along those lines."

Bakish also told analysts and investors that ViacomCBS would be back in the market to buy shares under an existing $2 billion authorization. “We see an incredible value opportunity in our own stock,” he said.

He added that the company intends to pay a dividend while maintaining its investment grade credit rating. 

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.