Media powerhouses CBS and Viacom reach merger deal

CBS finally put a ring on it.

After months of discussions, CBS Corp., the network behind “The Big Bang Theory,” has agreed to tie the knot with Viacom to better position the two TV companies to compete against streaming video giants like Netflix and Disney.

The all-stock deal, announced Tuesday, unites CBS’s network shows as well as shows from its premium cable network Showtime with Viacom’s Nikelodeon and MTV, the makers of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Jersey Shore” respectively. It also reunites Sumner Redstone’s media empire for the first time since they split in 2006.

The new company will be called ViacomCBS and Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, will be named chair. Shari Redstone — who heads National Amusements, the majority shareholders of both CBS and Viacom — has been pushing for the companies to reunite for years.

The companies’ boards agreed on an exchange ratio of 0.59625 CBS share for every Viacom Class B share, which means CBS’s current shareholders will own 61 percent of the combines company versus Viacom holders who get 39 percent.

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