Killing CBS/Viacom Merger? It’s All In The Name

By November 21, 2016
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Will Viacom and CBS re-merge to once again to form one super major media company (and in the process, bring the two halves of Star Trek back together)?

There are a lot of obstacles in the way right now. Even those 93-year-old Sumner Redstone owns a majority of both companies, there are still investors to appease. And those who own shares in CBS are not too keen to have their high-valued stocks intermingled with Viacom, which has struggled in recent years.

But then there’s another speed bump. Or could it be a mountain, who knows.

Apparently, one thing that could hold up a re-merger between Viacom and CBS is what the new company would be called. And, according to Reuters reporter Jessica Toonkel, this could be worse than parents of a newborn debating whether to name their  child after great-uncle Adolf.

Before the company split in 2006, it was all under the Viacom umbrella, a name that is very dear to Redstone, who created it by abbreviating “video and audio communications.” However, Viacom is now considered the weaker company, according to investors. CBS is much stronger, so it would make more sense to them to use CBS as the name, and not Viacom.

However, keeping the Viacom name could be a sticking point for Redstone, although the name has not really been discussed as of yet.

CBS executives believe their brand is more powerful, the sources said. Viacom has been struggling to turn around declining ratings and sinking ad revenue, while CBS has been a steady performer. So far this year, CBS’ shares are up 26 percent while Viacom’s shares are down 6.5 percent.

Viacom shares are worth just over $15 billion as of early Monday while CBS has a value of a little more than $26 billion.

Although both CBS and Viacom struggled in early 2009 during the economic crash, both companies were able to rebound. CBS just did it better, with share prices growing from just over $4 in harsh times up to more than $60 today. Viacom, on the other hand, was floating just under $15 per share in 2009, but as of Monday, had stock worth just under $38.

There are still a lot of question marks surrounding whether this deal will actually happen or not. But if you would like to know why we think you should care about this, check out our thoughts in regards to re-uniting the Star Trek brand and how that would be a good thing for fans.

Viacom owns a significant piece of the entertainment industry including Paramount Pictures, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. If you’re a college student, you’d probably also like to know that Viacom owns a site you might depend on: RateMyProfessors.com.

CBS, on the other hand, owns the CBS television network as well as Showtime, half of The CW, the extensive CBS Television Studios (which used to be the old Paramount Television), and even book publisher Simon & Schuster.

Viacom’s Paramount owns the film rights to Star Trek (producing the recent Star Trek: Beyond) while CBS has the television rights, not only for all the past series, but also for the new Star Trek: Discovery that will launch next year.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.