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CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is discussing ways to buy out the broadcaster's controlling shareholder, National Amusements, ahead of a potential deal with Viacom, the New York Post reported, citing sources.
Moonves believes that a merger with Viacom will leave him in an inferior position versus Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and could shortchange CBS minority shareholders, the newspaper said.
Media mogul Sumner Redstone's National Amusements controls both Viacom and CBS and 91-year-old Redstone is the chairman of both Viacom and CBS.
"Moonves has been talking to a few banks and private equity firms about buying CBS," the newspaper quoted a 'well-placed' source as saying. It is unclear how far the discussions have progressed, the report added.
The Moonves plan comes as talk of a mega media merger with Viacom has ratcheted up in recent weeks and Redstone's health continues to falter, the newspaper said.
Representatives at CBS, Viacom and National Amusements could not be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Viacom, owner of movie studio Paramount Pictures and cable networks MTV and Comedy Central, and broadcaster CBS were separated in 2006.
In December, CBS said it extended its contract with veteran CEO Moonves until June 2019 and following that he will become an executive adviser to CBS for five years and will also have the option to start a production company within CBS.