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CBS and Viacom inch toward merger deal

California viewers may soon have more entertainment choices if a proposed merger between CBS and media company Viacom becomes a reality. The two companies have reportedly set a date to ink a deal, which may be completed by the end of 2019. There has already been widespread speculation about this anticipated merger for more than a year.

The merger talks are largely based on a desire by both companies to be in a better position to take on other media giants that have carved out a significant slice of the entertainment and media market pie. The price tag associated with the potential merger has not been publicly discussed. Individuals familiar with the negotiations say that dollar figures won't be addressed until strategic and management issues are worked out.

A deal was very close to being announced in late 2018. It reportedly fell apart due to management issues, which were resolved when Les Moonves announced he was stepping down from his role with CBS following sexual misconduct allegations. With the exchange ratio, which won't be discussed until other aspects of the deal are agreed upon, Viacom wants it to be slightly higher since that company has outperformed CBS since the deal was initially discussed. The CEO of Viacom is expected to helm the combined company if the merger ultimately takes place. The possible role of CBS' current CEO post-merger is unknown. If the deal goes through, CBS is reportedly eying other companies, such as Starz.

The role of a mergers and acquisitions lawyer with deals of this nature is to get both parties on the same page so that financial and management details can be worked out. An attorney may bring in accountants or similar experts if there is a need to confirm the other company's reported value or identify potential risks that could make a merger less appealing.

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