Redstone Letter Asks for CBS-Viacom Merger

Viacom’s board of directors can finally end their mailbox vigil after controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone posted a much anticipated missive calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate the possibility of a merger with the other media company he controls, CBS.

News that a letter was coming from Redstone’s National Amusements, the theater chain that holds his 80% voting interests in both Viacom and CBS, broke yesterday. In a statement Thursday Viacom acknowledged receipt of the missive, adding that its board expects to form a special committee of independent directors to “carefully consider the request from National Amusements and any proposed transaction.”

Viacom noted that in the letter, National Amusements “communicated that it is not willing to accept or support any acquisition of Viacom by a third party or any transaction that would result in National Amusements surrendering its controlling position in Viacom.”

In addition to the 80% voting stake in Viacom and CBS, National Amusements, directly and through subsidiaries, owns about 10% of Viacom’s total common stock outstanding.

The full text of the letter follows: