So much for Leslie Moonves purchasing the company he calls home.
The CBS Corp. CEO poured cold water on the oft-speculated possibility that he could buy out the controlling stake Sumner Redstone’s National Amusement Inc. has in his company in an appearance Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Los Verdes, Calif.
“The board of directors will decide the fate of this company,” he said in a Q&A session at the event. “I would like to buy CBS. I’m not going to.”
Moonves had reportedly explored his options with financiers for a purchase estimated to be north of $2 billion. With 92-year-old Redstone in ailing health and speculation rampant that a CBS-Viacom merger could eventually be in the offing, all eyes have been on Moonves’ next move.
“We don’t want to be reunited with them, not them with us,” Moonves said of the Viacom merger rumors.
In other CBS news, Moonves indicated ongoing talks with Apple content chief Eddy Cue about joining a new TV service that would reportedly bring a smaller bundle of channels to iOs-powered devices. He characterized the likelihood of CBS getting involved as probable but didn’t offer specifics on what the product, which has yet to be officially confirmed by Apple, will be.
“Apple will offer a more select group of channels for a lower price,” was all Moonves would say of the unnamed service. When asked what it would take for CBS to be a part of the service, Moonves simply replied, “Money.”