Report: Comcast and ViacomCBS exploring global partnership for streaming video

on Jul 20, 2021
  • ViacomCBS and Comcast considering streaming partnership for global markets
  • Both companies enhancing their streaming operations
  • Analysts say Comcast and ViacomCBS are potential merger candidates

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Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts met ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC) Chairman Shari Redstone to discuss a possible streaming collaboration for international markets, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Sources close to the matter told the financial publication that the partnership is an indication that the two media giants are working on a potential collaboration.

Streaming partnership for international markets

The meeting between the two media executives reportedly took place in New York at the end of last month and also included ViacomCBS Chief Executive Officer Robert Bakish. Most importantly, the executives discussed ways in which ViacomCBS and Comcast can enter international markets together, rather than on their own.

ViacomCBS announced in May that its Paramount+ streaming service would be available in 45 markets by next year. Comcast shares the same expansion vision. In addition, Roberts indicated in April that they were seeking partnerships with distributors and programmers to boost Peacock in international markets.

Is a merger possible?

To better compete in the global streaming market, a merger between Comcast and ViacomCBS is a possibility — at least according to Wall Street analysts. Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh said in May that “M&A is not an answer” but he added the company will “obviously do what’s right for shareholders.”

On ViacomCBS’ end, the Redstone family empire National Amusements owns an 80% voting stake in ViacomCBS. She is open to entertaining acquisition offers if the right suitor offers the right price, according to sources.

However, a merger between the two could create pushback from Washington and lawmakers. As such, a commercial partnership would offer the benefits of a merger without the potential headaches, according to WSJ.