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CBS, Viacom agree to merge into media giant

New York (AFP) - CBS and Viacom announced Tuesday that they have reached an agreement to combine their entertainment empires in the latest media mega-deal.

The union will recombine two entities that once were under the same corporate umbrella until they were broken apart in 2006 by Sumner Redstone.

The new company will have more than $28 billion in revenue and comprise brands such as MTV, Comedy Central and Showtime, as well as Paramount Pictures.

The companies said merging will allow them to bolster investment in premium entertainment and boost their global reach, with broadcast networks in Britain, Argentina and Australia and content in 45 languages.

"I am really excited to see these two great companies come together so that they can realize the incredible power of their combined assets," said Shari Redstone, who will chair the new company, ViacomCBS.

"My father once said 'content is king,' and never has that been more true than today," she said. "We will establish a world-class, multiplatform media organization that is well-positioned for growth in a rapidly transforming industry."

Under the all-stock transaction, existing CBS shareholders will own 61 percent of the company, while Viacom shareholders will own 39 percent.

Near 2:50 pm (1850 GMT), shares of Viacom fell 5.9 percent to $30.63, while CBS rose 1.6 percent to $48.82.