0

Redstone makes concessions on Viacom CEO to clinch CBS merger

Shari Redstone, the media heiress whose family controls CBS and Viacom, has offered CBS CEO Leslie Moonves to drop her demands for Viacom CEO Bob Bakish to be his No. 2 following a merger, as long as Bakish sits on the combined company’s board, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The offer is an attempt by Redstone to resolve an impasse in the deal negotiations. Redstone has been trying to put together a deal that will keep Moonves, a 68-year-old media industry veteran credited with turning CBS around, at the helm, while positioning up-and-coming Bakish, 54, as Moonves’ successor.

Moonves has agreed to run the combined company for at least two years, as long as CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will be president and chief operating officer of the combined company, so he can succeed him, sources have previously said.

Redstone, daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, has offered not to give Bakish any executive role in the combined company, but still wants him to sit on the board of directors and eventually succeed Moonves, the sources said on Friday.

Moonves does not want Bakish to be part of the combined company at all, because he is seeking as much autonomy as possible in running the combined company, said one of the sources.

Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer of Viacom Inc., walks the grounds during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 14, 2017.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer of Viacom Inc., walks the grounds during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 14, 2017.