Redstone gifted rocker with his own stock
THR EXCLUSIVE: Mogul gave shares to Barbarellas singer
NEW YORK -- Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone gave the lead singer of a girls' band some of his own company stock as a personal gift, according to a copy of the regulatory filing obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
The document may provide some comfort to shareholders and Viacom insiders who feared that stock options had been awarded to 29-year-old Heather Naylor, who sold approximately $100,000 worth of Viacom stock in March.
Since Viacom has been tight with such options and has rules for awarding them, the disclosure that Naylor had sold a chunk of stock raised eyebrows within the company.
A spokesman for Redstone declined to say under what circumstances the 87-year-old mogul made the gift.
Redstone has taken an unusual interest in Naylor's band, the Electric Barbarellas, pressuring MTV to create a reality show following the group's attempt to break into the music business. Such a show is now in development despite the objection of MTV executives, who felt the band lacked talent.
"Anything that was done with this show was done in accordance with company policies," a Viacom spokesman said.
After the Daily Beast ran an account of Redstone's interest in the band, the website posted audio of the Viacom boss' message in which he threatened and cajoled the reporter to learn the identity of the source of the story. Redstone's spokesman told THR that the mogul regrets making that call.
Naylor's Facebook page has been closed. Her Twitter account also has been canceled. Previously, according to a Twitter page cached on Google, she had tweeted about her love for George Clooney and about being "bi-curious." She also queried: "Is it bad that I want to make sweet love to Bill Maher?"
According to a March 2 paper filing, Redstone gave Naylor 3,250 shares of Class B common stock, which were to be sold for her benefit "ASAP." Under the section "nature of acquisition transaction," the filing lists the reason: "gift from Sumner Redstone."
All this hasn't hurt the stock; Viacom shares are up about 4% since the issue surfaced.
Georg Szalai reported from New York; Kim Masters and Leslie Bruce in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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