By Jessica Toonkel
(Reuters) - Viacom Inc and CBS Corp are not in active merger discussions, although controlling shareholder Shari Redstone has had exploratory conversations with CBS directors about recombining the companies, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday.
CBS and Viacom are both controlled by ailing Sumner Redstone, 94, and his daughter Shari, through their privately owned movie theater company, National Amusements Inc.
Sumner Redstone split Viacom and CBS into separate companies a decade ago. He and his daughter attempted to merge the two in 2016, but the effort failed.
National Amusements, CBS and Viacom declined to comment.
Entertainment and media news website The Wrap on Friday reported that Shari Redstone was seeking to merge Viacom and CBS, sending Viacom shares up as much as 15 percent, to $35.55.
Viacom shares fell, but were still trading up 7 percent in after hours trading following reports that a merger was not being pursued.
(Reporting by Jessica Toonkel)