VIACOM and CBS potential merger - Star Trek movies & TV shows
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Rumored CBS and Viacom Merger Would Reunite 'Star Trek' Rights

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The entire Star Trek franchise may soon be back under one roof. Viacom Corporation and CBS Corporation are looking to merge, according to The Wrap.

 

Shari Redstone, the vice-chairwoman of both Viacom and CBS, is driving the process. A source close to CBS chairman Les Moonves told The Wrap, “He’s having active discussions with Shari and the board on a wide variety of issues all the time, including this one. And those discussions continue with regard to looking to merge the two companies.”

 

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures. It is the former parent company of CBS. Viacom spun CBS off as an independent entity in 2005. The split had major effects on the Star Trek franchise. Paramount Pictures maintained the rights to the films. That included the rights to make more movies. CBS maintained the television rights, future television rights, and licensing rights.

 

As fans saw it, this split came as Star Trek: Enterprise ended. There was no new Star Trek until 2009. That's when Paramount launched its movie reboot of the franchise with JJ Abrams. Those films were the first made independent of a television counterpart.

 

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Reports suggest that stalks between CBS and Viacom to possibly merge are beginning to heat up.

 

The next step is for executives at both companies to finish complete valuations of each company. Reports suggest that, pending valuation, CBS would purchase Viacom through an all-stock transaction. CBS head Leslie Moonves would then become the CEO of the reunited CBS and Viacom. The valuation of Viacom is currently the biggest stumbling block for the deal.

 

CBS and Viacom previously merged in 2000 at the behest of media mogul Sumner Redstone. However, when stocks sagged over the next few years, Redstone had the two companies separate again. The separation split the rights to Star Trek, with Viacom maintaining the film rights through Paramount Pictures and CBS maintaining the television rights as well as licensing.

 

Redstone’s National Amusements has maintained control over both companies through preferred voting shares. Sumner’s daughter, Shari Redstone, now heads national amusements and is vice chair of both CBS and Viacom. Rumors have been circulating for some time that Redstone would like to bring the two companies back together to form a larger entity better equipped to compete in the current era of entertainment mega-corporations. It’s similar to the reasons 21st Century Fox decided to sell its entertainment assets, ultimately finding a buyer in Disney.

 

The hangup surrounding Viacom’s valuation is reportedly due to recent projections from media analysts. Those analysts suggest a brighter than expected outlook for Viacom due to recent changes made by new management. CBS will likely want to value Viacom based on where its cable assets and Paramount Pictures currently stand while Viacom will want to increase value based on the potential future value suggested by these new analyses.

 

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