Viacom completes plan to split into two companies

Jan 1 | Updated: Jan 3 2006, 07:36am hrs
Viacom Inc, the entertainment company controlled by Sumner Redstone, completed a plan to split itself into two companies, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc, it said in a statement.

Shares of the New York-based companies will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Janurary 3, according to the statement distributed by PRNewswire. They have changed hands on a when-issued basis since December 5.

Investors are to receive one CBS share and one Viacom share for each two of Viacom that they now own. Both stocks will be part of the Standard & Poors 500 Index.

When-issued shares of the new Viacom were unchanged December 30 at $40, down 6.7% since December 5. CBS rose 50 cents to $25.50, down 4.5% since it started trading.

Redstone, engineered the breakup, which was announced in June 2005, to separate faster-growing Viacom from CBS, which owns radio and television networks.

Viacom owns the MTV cable television business and the Paramount Pictures studio. CBS also owns Simon & Schuster, Showtime and Paramount Parks.

Under the plan, Redstone will be chairman of both companies, handing the role of chief executive officer to Thomas Freston, at Viacom and Leslie Moonves, at CBS.