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Viacom forms panel on CBS merger

International Business
Sun, 02 Oct 2016

New York: Viacom said it had formed a special committee to consider National Amusements’ proposal to combine the company with CBS Corporation.

National Amusements, owned by media baron Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone, urged the boards of Viacom and CBS to explore a combination.

National Amusements, the majority shareholder of CBS and Viacom, also said it would not support the acquisition of either media company by a third party or surrender its control of either firm.

The committee consists of independent directors Thomas May and Nicole Seligman, who will act as co-chairs, and Kenneth Lerer, Judith McHale, Ronald Nelson and Charles Phillips, Viacom said in a statement.

Apart from Phillips, a long standing member of the Viacom board, all the other members were picked by the Redstones as a part of their battle for control of Viacom which resulted in the departure of former chief executive Philippe Dauman.

National Amusements owns 80 per cent of the voting shares of both media companies.

Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone’s daughter and an owner of National Amusements, has favoured recombining the two companies under the leadership of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, sources have previously said.

Viacom has hired Debevoise and Plimpton as its legal adviser, and also expects to retain a financial adviser. 

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