In separate but nearly identical statements issued late Thursday, both companies’ boards announced the formation of special committees to evaluate a potential combination.
No guarantee of a merger
But both companies tempered the news by also saying that the process does not guarantee a transaction will in fact occur.
The move is the latest in an ongoing power struggle between billionaire media mogul Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari, who controls both CBS and Viacom via National Amusements Inc., which is privately held.
A previous attempt at reunification in 2016 failed when CBS CEO Les Moonves expressed concerns over the deal’s value for shareholders.
Shares of the two media giants were flat in premarket trading Friday.