Aug 15, 2019

By Stuart Winchester
Viacom CEO Bob Bakish outlines ViacomCBS’ scale, reach, strength and strategy on CNBC.

Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish appeared with Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning, reiterating the strategic rationale behind yesterday’s announced merger with CBS.

“What we're creating [in ViacomCBS] is a leading multiplatform global content company, and it really has almost unmatched scale in the content side: 140,000 television episodes in the library, 3,600 films, very substantial production capabilities feeding, you know, our own platforms, feeding third parties,” Bakish said, highlighting the scale of the soon-to-be-combined entities.

Watch the full video:

 

Bakish’s appearance echoed his messages on a joint conference call yesterday with CBS President and acting CEO Joe Ianniello, in which he outlined four areas of particular strength for ViacomCBS: premium content scale, global leadership positions, financial strength, and a powerful strategy for growth.

“I think people will pretty quickly see as we execute against this strategy how powerful this combined company will become and how compelling an opportunity it is to be part of,” Bakish said this morning.

Here are a few additional highlights from Bakish’s interview with Sorkin, underscoring ViacomCBS’ scale, reach, strength and strategy:

Premium content scale:

“No question we have scale and bringing the two companies together gets us more scale there. … You look at content, we clearly have scale and content between the studios that we operate: Paramount Television, CBS Television Studios, Paramount Pictures Nickelodeon Animation, Viacom International Studios.

“Again, a library of 140,000 television episodes, 3,600 films, we have 750 series ordered to or in production. There is true content scale here and then you go and you look at dealing with partners.

“On the B2B side, distributors and advertisers. We have the number one television position in the United States by audience. And that's general audiences like 25 to 54s, 18 to 29s and specialized audiences like kids and African Americans, Hispanics, etc. So we clearly have relevant scale for advertisers and for distributors. And so there is no question we have scale here. There is no question the companies are stronger together than they were independently.”

Global leadership:

“We are leaders in markets all around the world. Certainly in the U.S. here, with the CW and CBS, and obviously the Viacom pay networks. In places like the UK, where we have a cornerstone and Channel 5. Argentina, Australia, India, and then branded network distribution all around the world.

“We also have a very compelling play in DTC [direct-to-consumer] – not something that people have talked about a lot, but, you know, CBS clearly embarked early on a subscription strategy, CBS All Access, Showtime OTT [over-the-top]. Viacom, on the other hand, chose to enter in the free space, Pluto TV, the largest free television streaming service in the U.S. You unite those two together and you really have a DTC ecosystem – very compelling both with substantial millions of users, good, strong growth.”

Financial strength and Growth strategy:

“On a trailing 12 month basis, the combined company spent $13 billion on content. And one of the real values of the deal is the financial position the combined companies create. $28 billion of revenue, $6 billion of income, $2.5 billion of cash flow, commitment to investment grade.

“Why does that matter? It means we can sustain on an organic basis, growing commitment to content and innovation and it also means we will have a balance sheet that will allow us to pursue other opportunities that might emerge in the marketplace. And that’s critical today, because there will be opportunity. And just as we’ve used M&A as a vehicle to accelerate our strategy at Viacom, we will potentially use M&A to accelerate our new strategy at a combined ViacomCBS.”

  1. Important Information About the Proposed Merger Between CBS and Viacom and Where To Find It: In connection with the proposed merger between CBS Corporation (“CBS”) and Viacom Inc. (“Viacom”), CBS will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a joint consent solicitation statement of CBS and Viacom and that will also constitute a prospectus of CBS. CBS and Viacom may also file other documents with the SEC regarding the proposed merger. This communication is not a substitute for the joint consent solicitation statement/prospectus or registration statement or any other document which CBS or Viacom may file with the SEC. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF CBS AND VIACOM ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, WHICH WILL INCLUDE THE JOINT CONSENT SOLICITATION STATEMENT / PROSPECTUS, AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT ARE FILED OR WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC, AS WELL AS ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS TO THESE DOCUMENTS, CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN OR WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the registration statement on Form S-4 (when available), which will include the joint consent solicitation statement / prospectus, and other documents filed with the SEC by CBS and Viacom through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov or by contacting the investor relations department of CBS (+1-212-975-4321 or +1-877-227-0787; investorrelations@CBS.com) or Viacom (+1-212-846-6700 or +1-800-516-4399; investor.relations@Viacom.com).
  2. Participants in the Solicitation: CBS and Viacom and their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of consents in respect of the proposed merger. Information regarding CBS’ directors and executive officers, including a description of their direct interests, by security holdings or otherwise, is contained in CBS’ Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 and its proxy statement filed on April 12, 2019, both of which are filed with the SEC. Information regarding Viacom’s directors and executive officers, including a description of their direct interests, by security holdings or otherwise, is contained in Viacom’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 and its proxy statement filed on January 25, 2019, both of which are filed with the SEC. A more complete description and information regarding directors and executive officers will be included in the registration statement on Form S-4 or other documents filed with the SEC when they become available. These documents (when available) may be obtained free of charge from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
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