Shortly after noon ET investors sent CBS shares up 4.5% from the lows it hit after the Viacom news broke when the New York Post reported that the telco is “poking around.”
Its interest was “piqued” by AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner.
While an interesting possibility, a deal would be a stretch for both companies.
CBS is controlled by Sumner and Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, and they seem determined to keep their crown jewel media assets.
And Verizon has built its video strategy around short form content — which led it to buy AOL and cut a deal to buy Yahoo. CEO Lowell McAdam told investors last week that Verizon’s offerings will mostly be “snackable and internet based” which he says “resonate with a younger group.”
The telco would have a hard time matching AT&T in long form. The owner of DirecTV is the No. 1 TV distributor and pays some of industry’s lowest prices for programming, which enabled it to launch the DirecTV Now streaming service with 100+ channels for $35 a month.
Verizon, which has FiOS, would not have the same bargaining power.
Also, a deal combining Verizon and CBS would certainly need FCC approval since it would involve broadcast licenses. That would require a demonstration that a union serves the public interest, not merely that it wouldn’t pose an antitrust problem.
AT&T and Time Warner might be able to avoid FCC review by unloading the few licenses that the entertainment giant owns.