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CBS and Viacom walked a long road full of twists and turns on their way to the corporate reunion that was formally sealed on Aug. 13. But the hard work of the merger has only just begun.
The integration of two media companies would be arduous and exhausting in the best of circumstances. Just look at the examples provided in recent months by AT&T and Disney as those behemoths absorbed Time Warner and 21st Century Fox, respectively.
Speculation - ViacomCBS - Acquisitions - Larder - IP
There’s been much speculation about the newly minted ViacomCBS moving quickly to make more acquisitions to add to its larder of IP and episodes. But in reality, Viacom and CBS’ rank and file will be consumed for some time in the backbreaking work of integration: getting email systems aligned, unifying pension and health plans, centralizing accounts payable and receivable, and on and on. That’s the proverbial death by a thousand paper cuts that can sap the strength of even well-run organizations. Or in the words of a senior executive at a former Time Warner company: “It starts out with everybody obsessing over who’s in and who’s out and what’s being restructured, and then [over time] you realize everybody around you is just agitated because they can’t find their old files on their new computers.”
Moreover, there will surely be a human toll — in the form of an unknown number of layoffs as CBS and Viacom consolidate overlapping divisions and corporate functions. The enlarged company has promised to generate $500 million in cost savings within two years.
Mantra - Harsh - Reality - Hoopla - Deal
The other mantra for dealing with the harsh reality after the hoopla of a deal announcement is to expect the unexpected. Disney earlier this month had to acknowledge that it didn’t see a few land mines that were buried in Fox’s film division. Weakness at 20th Century Fox...
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