Moonves: CBS doesn’t need merger

Les_MoonvesLes Moonves has appeared to pour cold water on speculation US broadcast network CBS may merge with sister media giant Viacom.

Talk of a merger of CBS and Viacom, which are both controlled by Sumner Redstone’s National Amusement Inc. and previously operated as the same company, has got louder over the past year.

However, CBS’s CEO and president, Moonves, (pictured) yesterday said a merger was unnecessary, though he did not specifically referring to Viacom.

“We think our stock price is going to go up considerably over the next few years and we’re going to take all that into consideration as we go forward. We’re feeling pretty strong about ourselves and don’t need any partners,” he told analysts on an investor call.

His words came after a New York Post report claimed Moonves had spoken with Wall Street bankers about financing a buy-out of CBS from National Amusements. It is widely expected Viacom chief Philippe Dauman will succeed 91-year-old Redstone when he retires or passes away.

CBS posted improved fourth-quarter revenues of US$3.68 billion, though profit was lower than the same quarter 12 months previously at US$413 million.

Elsewhere in the investors’ call, Moonves said CBS had “development all over the place with other broadcast networks, with other cable networks and with MPVDs [multiplatform video distributors]”.

“Our attitude basically is, we’re going to be in business with everybody. Ownership becomes more and more important back-end is becoming as important as the front end,” he added.

He also called the recent agreement with Bell Media to launch premium cable channel Showtime in Canada “potentially a very revolutionary deal [as the network] looks to expand throughout the world”.

Moonves renewed his contract at CBS in December.