If both companies are to be merged with Leslie Moonves at the helm, he will have to be given complete autonomy, opined Mario Gabelli, the second biggest investor with voting rights in both Viacom and CBS.
Mario Gabelli, the second biggest owner of voting shares at Viacom and CBS, has disclosed that Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp’s CEO should get at least 5 years without interference from Sumner Redstone’s family if Viacom and CBS are to be merged.
The Redstone family which owns a majority stake in National Amusements Inc. which in turns holds a majority stake in CBS and Viacom, have urged both companies to consider a merger.
“Give him five years. Say I will stay off your case,” said Gabelli, in reference to Shari Redstone, the media magnet’s daughter who has of late taken a more active role in her father’s business.
Both companies have formed independent board committees to consider the proposal of the merger at the behest of National Amusements. It is as yet unclear as to whether of the merger are aggregable to both.
National Amusements has made its stand clear, not only will it not support any other transaction, it will also not give up its controlling stake in either of the companies.
Of late, Viacom has been struggling with declining revenues from advertisements and ratings. It owns Paramount Studios, Comedy Central and MTV. If the merger were to take place, Moonves want autonomy to run the combined company, said sources who are familiar with the matter at hand.
Shari Redstone’s spokeswoman declined to comment.