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Viacom and CBS Corp. executive chairman Sumner Redstone last year offered to buy daughter Shari Redstone‘s stake in the entity that controls the companies, but she rejected the offer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
In a deal valued at $1 billion, she could have sold her 20 percent stake in National Amusements, which controls the entertainment giants, for cash and stock and give up her right to become chair of the companies in the case of her father’s death, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.
With Sumner Redstone’s health and the future of his companies being the topic of Wall Street chatter and a recent lawsuit by the mogul’s ex, the future role of his daughter, currently vice chair of both companies, has also been an issue of much debate.
Redstone years ago set up a seven-person trust to oversee his 80 percent stake in National Amusements after his death or incapacitation, which would include his daughter, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and others. The trust plan “currently provides that Shari would become the chairman of CBS and Viacom on Sumner’s demise,” according to 2014 documents, the Journal report said.
The documents also mention a written agreement between Shari Redstone and CBS CEO Leslie Moonves “regarding the chairmanship of CBS,” the Journal reported, without providing details of the deal. It also cited people familiar with the situation as saying that Shari Redstone has no similar agreement with Viacom’s Dauman.
Dauman’s most recent employment contract extension through the end of 2018 contained a new clause that gave him the right to resign in the case of “the appointment as executive chairman of the board (or co-executive chairman) of a person other than Sumner M. Redstone or yourself.”
Shari Redstone, 61, rejected the Nov. 2014 buyout offer, which also called for her to not contest her father’s gifts to two women who lived with him and was valued at about one-third more than the value of her stake, for a variety of reasons, including the success of her media and tech investment fund, her spokeswoman told the Journal. “Shari will always do what she believe is in the best interest of each company regardless of her rights,” she added.
The decision to keep her stake in National Amusements solidified her position in her father’s media empire, the Journal emphasized.
CBS and Viacom representatives declined to comment on the report.
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