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CBS and Viacom return to the merger table

US media groups CBS and Viacom have confirmed the resumption of merger talks, with similar efforts having previously been abandoned in December 2016.

CBS and Viacom said they have formed special board committees to evaluate a possible merger, at the behest of Shari Redstone’s National Amusements.

The privately held movie company through which Redstone controls 80 per cent of the voting shares of CBS and Viacom, first called on the two entities to consider recombining in September 2016, 10 years after Viacom was spun off from CBS. However, the plans never progressed beyond initial talks and collapsed later that year.

The latest efforts come amid other major mergers in the media landscape. “National Amusements supports the processes announced by CBS and Viacom to evaluate a combination of the two companies, which we believe has the potential to drive significant, long-term shareholder value,” Redstone’s company said in a statement reported by the Bloomberg news agency.

CBS controls America’s highest-rated network and its sports content includes rights to American football league the NFL.