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Les Moonves Says It's Unlikely CBS and Viacom Will Merge

He would buy CBS, but has no plans to.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

Les Moonves, the voluble CEO of CBS, doesn’t see any tie-up possibilities with Viacom, the cable network conglomerate that owns MTV and Nickelodeon.

“They don’t want to be reunited with us, and we don’t want to be reunited with them,” the 65-year-old chief executive said at Code Conference today in Palos Ranchos Verdes, Calif. The two used to be under one roof. “The combination of those business would be of no advantage.”

The backdrop to his comments is the fact that Sumner Redstone, the majority owner of both companies, is now past 90 and his health may be preventing him from properly running the two TV giants, according to a recent Vanity Fair feature.

That’s interesting since Redstone’s ownership stake will be put into a trust once he dies, effectively putting both CBS and Viacom under the control of what will be a shadow board, which won’t include Moonves.

Moonves, who for years had been seeking a tie-up with other major network companies, such as Time Warner Inc. (owner of HBO, TNT and CNN), now doesn’t see the need to sell CBS.

“I don’t imagine that will happen,” he said. “CBS is a public company. It will remain a public company.”

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