Redstones Decide CBS And Viacom Should Remain Divorced After All

A decade after a divorce, a couple strongly considers getting back together, only to call it off. The plot of It’s Complicated?  No, the latest in the saga of Viacom(VIA) and CBS(CBS).  At the very end of 2005, Viacom and CBS split into two independent companies. Late this summer, as Shari Redstone cemented her control over her father Sumner’s empire after a sad and sordid fight, the Redstones demanded that Viacom and CBS get back together. Now, months later, they have decided that the companies, which they control, should remain independent.

In a letter to the CBS and Viacom boards, Shari Redstone and her father, Sumner Redstone, who built the $40 billion media empire, said the two companies should continue on independent paths “based on our assessment of the strengths, progress, and future prospects of both companies.”

At the same time, Viacom appointed interim CEO Robert Bakish as CEO. Bakish replaced Philippe Dauman and Thomas Dooley, both of whom were ousted by the Redstones.  While CBS has been performing well under the management of Les Moonves, Viacom has been struggling and it will be a challenge for Mr. Bakish to turn the company around. With the latest developments,  the turnaround will not be Mr. Moonves’ concern.

Disclosure: The author has no position in any company mentioned