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CBS, Viacom to Evaluate Potential Merger

CBS Corporation takes first step toward a deal to reunite the two companies

CBS Corporation’s board of directors has formed a special committee to evaluate the possibility of reuniting with Viacom, the company announced on Thursday.

“There can be no assurance that this process will result in a transaction or on what terms any transaction may occur. Neither CBS nor the committee intends to comment further, until the process is completed,” the company said in a statement.

The action is another step toward the reunification of the two companies, a long-rumored possibility that has gained momentum in recent weeks.

As TheWrap reported last month, Viacom and CBS vice-chairwoman Shari Redstone had begun pursuing a potential merger after concluding that a bigger footprint would be necessary for the companies to thrive. CBS chairman Les Moonves, who had long resisted talk of recombining the companies, is said to now be open to the possibility.

Redstone’s father Sumner Redstone first brought CBS and Viacom together in 2000, only to cleave them again in 2006. Rumblings of a reunification have periodically surfaced ever since, most significantly in September 2016 when National Amusements, the parent company of both media corporations, asked the boards of each to explore the possibility — talks which eventually fell by the wayside.

The company issued a statement on Thursday, backing the newly revived process: “National Amusements supports the processes announced by CBS and Viacom to evaluate a combination of the two companies, which we believe has the potential to drive significant, long-term shareholder value. National Amusements does not currently intend to make any further comments regarding the process.”