Shari Redstone Defends Keeping Viacom, CBS Corp. Separate

Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish.

“What became apparent to me very quickly was that our assets were really undervalued, which I understood, but what I didn’t understand at the time was the significant upside that existed at their business when we had good management in place and the culture came back,” she said.

Redstone had encouraged the companies to examine the possibility of a merger in 2016, a path many industry observers thought was wisest in an era when scale is becoming more important than ever to competing with tech giants like Facebook and Google.

But she was persuaded to keep Viacom separate once she was able to assess the upside still in place there despite years of struggles under prior management that had left the conglomerate in a state of distress. She did credit CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves with providing an attractive option should she had opted for a merger.

“I haev a great relationship with Les,” she said. “I think we could have worked together on a combined company. But at that point in time, we looked at the valuations, and we were undervalued.”

Getting Viacom’s assorted cable brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, to create must-see content will be key to reviving those networks, which she noted will likely appear in an entertainment-only skinny bundle offering Bakish hinted at earlier this month. But the company is also going to be focused on producing content just for mobile platforms.

More Biz

  • Reese Witherspoon

    CAA Sets Rare Public Event With Reese Witherspoon, Jenny Han Among Attendees

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein arrives

    Judge Allows Harvey Weinstein Sex Trafficking Suit to Proceed

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly to Perform at MSG’s Hulu Theater in New York Next Month

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • Brian Speiser APA

    APA Alternative Agent Brian Speiser Promoted to Partner at APA

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • Live Nation Names Amy Marks EVP,

    Live Nation Names Amy Marks Exec VP, Head of Integrated Marketing

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • Kukai

    Tencent Unit Buys New Classics Media for $2.25 Billion

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

  • The Lippin Group

    George Cabico Joins Lippin Group as Senior VP

    Shari Redstone, vice chair of CBS Corp. and Viacom, defended her decision last year not to merge the companies at a keynote Q&A Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She cited the potential still to be unlocked at Viacom now that its been rejuvenated by management led by CEO Bob Bakish. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content