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CBS-VIACOM MERGER FAILS


Shares of Viacom dropped nearly 8 percent when media moghul, CBS owner Sumner Redstone and his daughter, Shari called off their failed effort to merge CBS Corp and VIACOM, Inc. The collapse of the plan, which never got beyond initial talks, raises questions about the future of both Redstone-controlled companies just as scale becomes more important in a media industry set to be reshaped by AT&T's (T.N) deal to buy Time Warner Inc (TWX.N).The end of negotiations was not a complete surprise. Les Moonves, the longtime chief executive of CBS, said last week talks were still stuck in the early stages, more than two months after the Redstones asked the boards of both companies to explore a tie-up.The two sides never entered talks on pricing and were far apart on Viacom's value, according to two sources familiar with the situation.Shares of Viacom were down 7.9 percent at $39.10 in afternoon trading.CBS shares initially rose 1.8 percent, touching a nearly 2-1/2 year high, after CNBC cited a New York Post report that Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) was interested in buying the company. Verizon declined to comment.

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