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Bakish takes Viacom Helm, for now.

ANOTHER MONTH, another Viacom CEO. The company has tapped its third CEO in 90 days in naming longtime international networks chief Bob Bakish as acting president/CEO.

Bakish's elevation had been expected. But the word "acting" reflects the corporate maneuvering underway as Viacom pursues a recombination with CBS Corp.--the most significant by product of the coup that saw Sumner Redstone oust Philippe Dauman as Viacom chairman/CEO in August. Tom Dooley, Dauman's longtime No. 2, succeeded him as interim CEO but passed on taking the permanent job. Dooley will exit Nov. 15, when Bakish takes over.

The boards of Viacom and CBS Corp. have established committees to study how a corporate reunification would work, starting with the price tag for a deal and post-merger management. The next step, sources say, is for those committees to exchange formal communications and begin the due diligence process, likely in the coming weeks.

But differences in how those committees are getting to that step mirror the state of both companies. CBS' committee is said to have made quick work of hammering out stipulations that would make a merger palatable for shareholders. Viacom's committee is said to be awash in advisors, legal and financial, as board members appointed only in August try to sort out a valuation for the company.

Any formal merger with CBS will take months, if not a year, to complete. In the meantime, Viacom is still a public company and needs a CEO at the helm. Bakish is well-regarded, both internally and externally, for his success in running Viacom's international channels business.

By CYNTHIA LITTLETON

Sf@Variety_Cynthia

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Title Annotation:TOP BILLING: NEWS: CINEMA SCOPE: FACETIME; Viacom Inc appoints Bob Bakish as president and chief executive officer
Author:Littleton, Cynthia
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:268
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