Sumner Redstone Says He Remains In Control of Viacom, CBS

Sumner Redstone took issue Thursday with a New York Post article suggesting control of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. was expected to transfer to his daughter, Shari, upon his death.

“Decisions about who will succeed me as chairman of CBS and Viacom will be made by the boards of the respective companies, and not by any individual. Despite press reports to the contrary, such decisions have not yet been made,” the executive said in a prepared statement. “After my death, my ownership interest in the companies will be overseen by a group of seven trustees who will make fiduciary decisions based solely on the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust. Until that time, I will continue to make all such decisions.”

The New York Post reported Thursday that Shari Redstone was “in line” to become the “irrevocable chairman” of both CBS and Viacom, and suggested the boards of the trust that will oversee Redstone’s controlling stakes in both companies would follow her views. The Post suggested Shari Redstone might consider selling CBS Corp. while retaining Viacom.

Interest in Redstone’s health — and the effects his death might have on the companies he controls — has increased in recent months, owing in part to his advancing age. He is 91 years old, and his presence on investor calls and at annual shareholder meetings has diminished in recent months. Vanity Fair reported Wednesday that Redstone is expected to attend a CBS annual meeting to be held May 21.

Redstone did not comment on his physical well-being in the statement.

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