CBS-Viacom deal reportedly close to being finalized
FBN's Charlie Gasparino with the latest on the CBS-Viacom merger talks.
Three people close to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement say the deal is close to being finalized. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is headed to Mexico City as the revised North American free trade agreement may be close to being ratified by the U.S. Congress. Reports suggest congressional Democrats may be satisfied with the text of changes proposed by Donald Trump's trade representative. Viacom and CBS Corp. are again joining forces to bolster their positions in a rapidly changing industry that's pushing other media companies to bulk up. The two first merged in 1999 and broke apart in 2005. Now, they are ViacomCBS, with a collection of cable channels, broadcast networks and film and publishing divisions. President Trump is expected to agree to a deal with China that could bring some relief from the effects of a 17-month-long trade war. The deal, "phase one" of a broader trade agreement, would suspend a fresh round of tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese imports that were set to begin Sunday. CBS News' Weijia Jiang joins CBSN AM with details from the White House.
NEIL: ALL RIGHT. THE MEDIA STOCKS IN PLAY, CBS VIACOM, WHETHER SOMETHING HAPPENS ANYTIME SOON ANYONE'S GUESS BUT ONE GUY WHO WOULD KNOW IS CHARLIE GASPARINO. WHAT IS GOING ON? >> IT IS HAPPENING. I THINK IT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE CLOSING BELL TODAY, MAYBE TOMORROW MORNING. SOMETIMES IT BLEEDS INTO THE NEXT DAY BECAUSE YOU GOT DONE WITH IT REALLY LATE TODAY, DOT THE Is, CROSS THE Ts. MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE, BOB BAKISH CEO, GUARANTEED. JOE IANNIELLO FROM CBS. HE WILL BE REPORTING TO BOB BAKISH. IT IS NOT AS MUCH -- THEY WANT TO KEEP HIM AT THE COMPANY BECAUSE HE DOES A GOOD JOB, LIKE OTHER UNIT HEADS HE WILL BE REPORTING TO BAKISH, EVEN THOUGH CBS WILL BE BIGGEST UNIT. NEIL: WHAT IS THE HANGUP? >> NORMAL DEAL STUFF. WE THINK IT HAPPENS OVERNIGHT. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH, THROUGH T-MOBILE, SPRINT LOOKS LIKE TO ABOUT TO HAPPEN A LITTLE THING HAPPENED HERE, YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE WHOLE THING AGAIN, LAWYERS LOOK OVER EVERYTHING ELSE, BARRING THEM FINDING SOME SLUSH FUND INSIDE OF CBS, WHICH CAUSES, LIKE SOME SORT OF A HUGE PROBLEM, THIS THING IS GETTING DONE EITHER AFTER THE BELL TODAY, MY GUESS, OR, BEFORE THE OPENING BELL TOMORROW. AND IT WILL BE PRETTY BIG. SHARI REDSTONE WILL HAVE ACHIEVED WHAT SHE HAS BEEN TRYING FOR YEARS TO ACHIEVE. THAT IS MERGING TWO COMPANIES TOGETHER. PUTTING THE, REMEMBER, WHAT HAPPENED WAS, THEY WERE TOGETHER FOR YEARS, WHEN SUMNER HAD, WHEN SUMNER REDSTONE WAS PUTTING TOGETHER THE MEDIA EMPIRE. HE BROKE THEM APART IN 2006, BECAUSE DIFFERENT MEDIA LANDSCAPE. THEY WERE BOTH BIGGER COMPANIES AT THE TIME. NEIL: YEAH. >> THEY WERE BOTH MAJOR PLAYERS WITH, MAJOR MARKET CAPS IN MEDIA BUSINESS. SO YOU CAN SORT OF, YOU CAN EXTRACT SOME CAPITAL TO MAKE BOTH GROW, YOU KNOW, IN THAT ENVIRONMENT. SINCE THEN, AS WE KNOW, MEDIA HAS BECOME CONSOLIDATED. COSTS HAVE CHANGED. YOU NEED TO ACHIEVE ECONOMIES OF SCALE. PUT IDEAS PUT THEM TOGETHER. RESISTED BY CBS WHO THOUGHT VIACOM WAS SECOND RATE OUTFIT. LES MOONVES RESISTED. THIS WE WERE FIRST TO REPORT IN MARCH, WAS CLEAR LES WAS NOT GETTING CONTRACT EXTENDED. FOX BUSINESS BEAT "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" EASILY ON EVERY MAJOR ASPECT OF THE STORY, THIS THING WAS HAPPENING. BOB BAKISH WOULD BE THE CEO. SHARI REDSTONE WOULD BE, SHE WOULD GET SOME ROLE IN THIS, WILL BE INTERESTING, VICE-CHAIR WOMAN. BAKISH GETS THE CEO ROLE BECAUSE HE IS VERY CLOSE WITH SHARI, EVERYTHING YOU SAY ABOUT VIACOM AS A PRODUCT HE HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB SINCE TAKING OVER. NEIL: THAT HELPS. >> TAKING OVER FOR DAUMAN IN 2016. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN REPORTING TO HIM. WE'LL SEE "AFTER THE BELL,"