Viacom has countered CBS’ initial acquisition offer, adding about 24 percent in valuation to the opening proposal, two people with knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap. Viacom also wants Bob Bakish as president and chief operating officer at the new company, according to one of those people.
The counter-offer would value Viacom at $14.7 billion, though since this is an all-stock deal, any ultimate value of a completed transaction would come down to fluctuating share prices.
Initially, CBS had proposed a share exchange ratio of 0.55, which would value Viacom at $11.9 billion. Viacom believes that to be a low-ball offer, CBS does not. At the time the value became public, it did place a dollar amount on Viacom that was below its market cap.
Viacom’s current market capitalization is $12.691, which is somewhere in the middle of the two proposals on the table.
CBS is currently balking at both Viacom’s self-valuation and the idea of Bakish in such a key role. Executives at the so-called Tiffany Network want Leslie Moonves’ team to stay in place, which means Joe Ianniello would remain COO under CBS’ terms.
Both companies believe there is a case to be made for their version of an envisioned hierarchy: Bakish is a popular boss in a media-facing role, but Ianniello has helped guide the financials of the clearly more successful corporation.
Viacom and CBS both declined comment on this story.
CBS and Viacom were one company once before, though they spun off from one-another back in 2005. Since then, CBS has been the more successful of the two publicly traded corporations.
Both companies are controlled by the Redstone Family. The ailing Sumner Redstone’s holding company National Amusements Inc. carries about 80 percent of the voting shares for both CBS and Viacom, and his daughter Shari Redstone is a vice chairman for each. She’s been leading the charge for CBS and Viacom to recombine.