Viacom-CBS Merger Now Expected to Close in 'Early December'

Bob Bakish
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Bob Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom Inc., participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

National Amusements, the holding company controlled by the Redstone family, has voted to approve the merger of Viacom and CBS. National Amusements controls a majority of CBS and Viacom shares, paving the way for the deal to close.

Viacom and CBS also said in a statement late Monday that the merger "is now expected to close by early December." Until this point, company executives had said they hoped the deal would close by the end of the year.

The final results of the consent solicitations for the merger will be posted in the coming days.   

Once the deal closes, CBS will delist its shares from the New York Stock Exchange, with the new company, ViacomCBS, trading on the Nasdaq under the symbols "VIAC" and "VIACA."

The companies announced their $30 billion merger plans in August, touting their complementary assets and the potential of $500 million in annual cost-savings. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will be CEO of the combined company, with CBS CEO Joe Ianniello set to run the CBS assets.

Of course, CBS and Viacom were previously part of the same National Amusements-controlled company, but Sumner Redstone had Viacom spin off CBS in 2006. Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, will be board chair of ViacomCBS once the merger is completed.

"I think a lot of times when people talk about scale, they talk about market cap, but scale matters whether or not you have the capability to make quantity of content and quality of content," Shari Redstone said last week at a conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal. "Between the library that we have, the $13 billion spend on content every year, we can compete with the best of them."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.