Viacom is sliding after a report that merger talks with CBS could get 'serious' next week

  • Shares of Viacom slipped as much as 2% on Friday morning after a report said merger talks with CBS could advance next week.
  • The CBS board is reportedly worried about Viacom’s management team leading the combined company.
  • The two companies first starting discussing a merger in mid-April.
  • Watch Viacom trade live.

Merger talks between CBS and Viacom could progress next week, according to a report from CNBC.

Viacom Class B shares slipped as much as 2% in early-morning trading amid the news. CBS shares fell about 1%.

CBS’s board is scheduled to meet on Friday and is expected to discuss advancing the merger talks next week, according to the report.

One possible sticking point could be concerns the CBS board has about Bob Bakish – Viacom’s chief executive officer – and other Viacom executives running the newly combined entity, the report said.

Viacom stock has historically underperformed its peers such Disney and CBS, and some CBS board members expressed concern over possibly paying a premium for an underperforming company, according to the report.

The two media companies have been going back and forth for months over the possible consolidation. Shari Redstone, the president of National Amusements, which is a majority shareholder in both Viacom and CBS, has been pushing for the deal for years but has been constantly blocked by CBS’s board.

Viacom shares are up roughly 15% this year.

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