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Bakish to Head Combined CBS-Viacom Management: Reports

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish would be CEO if Viacom and CBS are re-combined, according to published reports.

CBS and Viacom, both controlled by the family of Sumner and Shari Redstone, have been discussing a merger and there have been reports that they hope to complete discussions by next week when both companies report earnings.

The two sides reportedly agreed to discuss operational issues before negotiating price.

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The tentative agreement on management would have Bakish as CEO and CBS’s interim CEO Joe Ianniello taking on a new role running the company’s CBS-branded assets.

CBS’s CFO, Christina Spade would become the combined companies’ CFO.

Shari Redstone reportedly favors the combination, but is barred from discussing it directly under the terms of the settlement of a lawsuit last year.

A deal would give the combined company more scale to compete with larger competitors as TV enters the streaming era and being aligned with CBS’s broadcast network and sports franchises would give Viacom’s struggling cable networks more leverage with distributors.