ViacomCBS Chief Says Combined Company Will Hunt for Acquisitions

Robert Bakish-Getty-H 2019
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Bob Bakish tells analysts that the combined company's balance sheet will leave it "very well positioned to exploit" possible deals.

After CBS and Viacom merge, the combined company will look to get even bigger through strategic acquisitions, executives said Tuesday on a call with analysts.

"As a leading global multiplatform premium content company, we will also explore strategic transactions that enhance our content portfolio, accelerate our direct-to-consumer growth and strengthen our international footprint," Christina Spade, who will be CFO of ViacomCBS, told analysts on the call. "We are not really missing any assets at this point."

Added Spade, "Having said that, both Viacom and CBS independently, we explore everything, and there is a lot happening in the marketplace. It is moving at a dynamic rate."

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who will be president and CEO of the combined company, said on the call that the company's cash flow generation and balance sheet will leave it well positioned to make deals if necessary. He also echoed Spade's comments, saying that the company does not have "any big gaps per se."

"As indicated, both of us continue to look at opportunities in the marketplace, and have executed on some of those in the past," Bakish said. "One of the other things this deal does is take a big uncertainty off the company, which was an overhang — we will be very well positioned to exploit those opportunities."

The combined company will include the CBS broadcast network, the Viacom suite of cable channels, Showtime, Paramount Pictures and Simon & Schuster, among other assets.