Shari Redstone

Source: Viacom

Shari Redstone

Amid question marks over how it will compete against media giants like Disney, Netflix and AT&T, the ViacomCBS merger finally closed on Wednesday (4) as the companies that Sumner Redstone split apart close to 14 years ago were reunited.

The new entity is valued at approximately $25bn and encompasses cable networks such as Showtime, Nickelodeon and MTV, Paramount Pictures, US broadcast networks CBS and the CW, as well Australia’s Network Ten, the UK’s Channel 5, Argentina’s Telefe, and a joint venture in India with that country’s TV18.

As Screen reported in August, ViacomCBS will house a streaming platform roster that includes CBS All Access, Showtime’s OTT offering, and ad-supported VOD service Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired for $340m earlier this year.

Despite Wall Street caution after shares in CBS and Viacom fell approximately 20% since the merger was announced in August, chair of the combined board Shari Redstone (pictured) remained understandably upbeat, telling reporters on Wednesday the new entity was scalable and would be a content leader. In past year the combined companies reportedly spent $13bn on content.

Bob Bakish is the new entity’s president and CEO, and Joe Ianniello becomes chairman and CEO of CBS.

Official trading of ViacomCBS begins on Thursday.