CBS and Viacom are “not in active discussions” for a potential reunion, Leslie Moonves said on Thursday, adding, “or anything like that.”
“We are a standalone public company,” the broadcast boss continued. “We’re really happy with the hand we are playing.”
Moonves’ comments took place during the Beverly Hills-based Bank of America-Merrill Lynch 2016 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. He’ll take the stage next week at the east coast Goldman Sachs version.
The question comes about amid struggles at Viacom, which recently saw Philippe Dauman stepping down as CEO. Meanwhile, CBS continues to surge. Both publicly traded corporations fall under the National Amusements, Inc. umbrella, which is controlled by the Sumner M. Redstone Trust. CBS and Viacom were one company until a 2005 split. Some analysts think it may be time to try that once-winning combination again.
Sumner Redstone and his former protege Dauman have been squabbling all year, both in courtrooms and through the media. Dauman believes that the ailing 93-year-old’s daughter Shari Redstone has been pulling dad’s puppet strings in an epic power play.
In the end, it was the Redstones who won, though Dauman received a pretty sweet severance package. The Viacom board of directors saw a shake-up beyond just the French-born executive, which will probably kill any sale of Paramount Pictures.