ViacomCBS CEO: We have the scale to take on Disney and Netflix

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish.Todd Williamson | Getty ImagesBob Bakish, the head of a newly combined CBS and Viacom, said the company has the scale to take on media rivals. In an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bakish cited CBSViacom’s content library, which includes 140,000 episodes and 36,000 films, as enough ammo to fight the likes of Netflix, Disney, Comcast and others entering the TV streaming wars.  « We clearly have scale in content, » Bakish said. « There’s no question the companies are clearly stronger together than they are independently. »Still, Viacom and CBS, which are valued at $11.8 billion $18.2 billion respectively, are dwarfed by Disney, which is worth $246.8 billion, and Netflix, which has a market cap of $136.7 billion. With the merger announced, investors’ attention has turned to whether or not CBSViacom will pursue additional deals in an effort to further beef up its competitive edge. Bakish said M&A could serve as a « vehicle » to increase its scale, adding that the company is looking at its options moving forward.  « It’s early days, we’re just getting started, » Bakish said. The comments come after CBS and Viacom announced Tuesday an agreement to merge, reuniting the two companies after 13 years apart and several attempts at a deal since 2016. The new company will be called ViacomCBS and Bakish will lead the combined entity.The acquisition, which is expected to close by year’s end, creates a combined company with more than $28 billion in revenue.Shari Redstone, whose National Amusements controls both CBS and Viacom, has sought to combine the two companies for several years. The tie-up could also give CBS and Viacom more sway when competing for highly sought after entertainment and sports rights, like the National Football League.CBS stands to gain the movie studio Paramount Pictures, cable networks including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and BET, as well as the streaming service Pluto TV and South Park Studios as a result of a merger with Viacom. CBS owns the legacy broadcast network, in addition to other cable and media properties.Once the merger is complete, it’s possible that the combined companies may look to acquire another company, such as Discovery, Starz or Sony, among others. Lions Gate, the parent company of Starz, has previously held talks with CBS about offloading the premium entertainment network.Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

Source: CNBC

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