The merger of CBS and Viacom has staffers bracing for layoffs — but the companies are keeping mum about when and where they’ll wield the ax.
“The bigwigs are concerned for their jobs,” said a CBS source, explaining that corporate-level execs, like those with human resources, communications and ad sales, are concerned their jobs could be eliminated if they overlap with similar posts at Viacom.
On a conference call Tuesday, execs said the merger would save money, but stopped short of saying whether jobs would be part of the equation. CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Joe Ianniello mentioned “cost synergies” that would include subscriber growth of the companies’ streaming platforms, Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access and Pluto TV.
If pink slips are handed out, they would come after the deal closes, which sources say could happen as soon as September given that Shari Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. has the power to fast-track the deal’s closing if it doesn’t meet any regulatory opposition.
While execs of the soon-to-be ViacomCBS on Tuesday said they expect the deal to close by the end of 2019, National Amusements has the power to “act unilaterally” to approve it, thus ‘“shortening” the time frame of the deal to close, according to Mort Pierce, a partner at White & Case.
If the Securities and Exchange Commission provides comment on the deal, it will likely close in 30 to 90 days, said Pierce. If the SEC doesn’t take action, the deal could close in 20 days, he said.
A source close to NAI agreed with Pierce’s assessment, saying the closing will take significantly less time than many recent mega media mergers like AT&T and Time Warner or Disney and 21st Century Fox. Those deals took well over a year each.