CBS, Viacom boards weigh merger again with Redstone's support

Viacom is best known for its cable channels, like MTV and Nickelodeon, while CBS is best known for the CBS broadcast network.

Viacom has announced that its board of directors has established a special committee of independent directors to evaluate a potential combination with CBS Corporation.

According to commentators, though the companies' merger talks were called off in 2016, the media landscape has evolved dramatically since then, with the proposed mega-mergers of AT&T and Time Warner and Disney and Fox. Mr. Redstone split the two companies apart in 2006 amid uncertainty about the future of both businesses. She has been promoting the idea of a merger, believing the combined companies will be better able to combat a myriad of challenges facing the media industry.

CBS' board is meeting Thursday and is likely to move forward with a plan to form a committee, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Viacom did the same thing.

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CBS shares rose 2.2 percent on Thursday, while shares of Viacom closed down 0.6 percent.

CBS and Viacom studies a combination a year ago but decided not to move forward. Thus the CBS board may have concerns.

"As the world around CBS and Viacom will soon be inhabited by giant companies with endless balance sheets, the reality of the current arms race has recently weighed on these two stocks", Michael Nathanson, an analyst with MoffettNathanson Research said in a recent research note.

CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., two of the biggest USA media companies, are again weighing a merger at the urging of their controlling shareholder Shari Redstone.

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