Viacom asks CBS to raise its bid by $2.8bn

NEW YORK: Viacom Inc has asked CBS Corp to sweeten its merger bid by about $2.8 billion or almost a quarter more than CBS’s offer, people familiar with the matter said, indicating the wide gap in the US media firms’ price expectations.
National Amusements Inc, the Redstone family company that controls CBS and Viacom, has pushed them to negotiate a merger by forming independent board committees.
Viacom’s request shows how the companies have yet to make progress in their talks.
In a letter to CBS last week, Viacom asked for 0.68 CBS shares for each Viacom class B share, the sources said.
CBS had offered 0.55 of its shares for each Viacom class B share, sources have said.
CBS is now considering its next steps in the deal negotiations, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because Viacom’s request is confidential.
At CBS’s proposed share exchange ratio of 0.55, Viacom would be valued at $11.9 billion, below its current market capitalisation of $12.7 billion.
Viacom’s counterproposal values the company at $14.7 billion.
Viacom shares have risen about a third since early November on speculation of new efforts to merge CBS with Viacom, after the previous round of negotiations in 2016 ended unsuccessfully.
In its letter to CBS last week, Viacom also asked for its CEO Robert Bakish to be president and chief operating officer of the combined company, a demand supported by National Amusements, according to the sources. — AFP