What's going on?
Television moguls Viacom and CBS – home of NCIS, The Late Show, and Murder, She Wrote – had a satisfying conclusion to their lengthy run on Tuesday: a merger.
What does this mean?
If you thought Leonard and Penny had a long road, that’s nothing compared to these two: CBS and Viacom actually parted ways 13 years ago, but after years of failed negotiations, they finally got back together.
They managed to settle on a “price” for their all-share merger. Cash isn’t actually changing hands, so both sides had to decide how many CBS shares each Viacom investor will receive. Last time around, the two couldn’t agree terms and CBS ended up suing Viacom’s majority shareholder (who’s also CBS’s biggest investor), claiming they were forcing a deal against the company’s interests. What a cliffhanger!
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: How I met your replacement.
Since the split, CBS has continued to grow while Viacom – owner of Nickelodeon and film studio Paramount – has struggled against the likes of Netflix. More Americans than ever are replacing cable packages with streaming services, and without CBS’s help, Viacom may fade to black. Case in point: MTV (another of Viacom’s brands) was once the queen of music videos. But that crown is now on YouTube’s noggin – its most popular music video has over six billion views.
For markets: Not everybody loves mergers.
Even combined, CBS and Viacom are smaller than content giants Disney, Warner Media, and Netflix. But they may now be big enough for competition authorities to stop a larger rival from acquiring them, limiting shareholders’ potential gains. If the new company can’t achieve hoped-for synergies, it might have to let parts of its business go. Media conglomerate Verizon did just that on Monday, announcing that blogging platform Tumblr – picked up when it bought Yahoo in 2017 – would be sold for pennies compared to the $1 billion it was worth in 2013.