×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Report: Shari Redstone Rejected $1 Billion Buyout Offer of Her Stake in Family Empire

After months of drama surrounding the fate of Sumner Redstone and his media empire, Shari Redstone appears to be asserting herself as the key player in setting the future course for Viacom and CBS Corp., which are controlled through the family’s National Amusements holding company.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday that Redstone in late 2014 rejected a $1 billion buyout offer from her 92-year-old father for her 20% stake in National Amusements. The deal would have called for Shari Redstone to give up her existing right to succeed her father as chairman of Viacom and CBS Corp. upon his death.

The Journal also reported that Shari Redstone has an agreement with CBS Corp. president-CEO Leslie Moonves that he will be named chairman of CBS after her father’s death. That understanding is believed to be a private written agreement between Moonves and Shari Redstone, who at present is vice chairman of the boards of both CBS Corp. and Viacom.

The Journal reported that Shari Redstone has no such agreement with Philippe Dauman, president-CEO of Viacom. Dauman’s performance has been under scrutiny in the past year as Viacom shares have sunk and the company’s core cable networks have suffered ratings declines and subscriber losses.

After a period of estrangement, Shari Redstone and her family are spending the holidays with her father at his home in L.A.’s Beverly Park area.

The report is sure to add fuel to speculation that Shari Redstone and Dauman are heading for a boardroom showdown over the future of Viacom. Sources familiar with the situation say Redstone has made no secret of her concern about Dauman’s stewardship of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and cable channels during the past decade since her father named him CEO of Viacom in 2006.

Both Shari Redstone and Dauman are part of the seven-member board that will oversee the trust that will inherit Sumner Redstone’s National Amusement shares, which give him about 80% of the voting power in both Viacom and CBS. Redstone’s son, Tyler Korff is also a member, as are four lawyers long associated with Sumner Redstone.

Moonves is not a board member of the Redstone family trust, which may have been the spark for his agreement regarding the CBS chairman post with Shari Redstone. Both Moonves and Dauman have clauses in their employment agreements that allow them to leave with generous severance packages if someone other than Sumner Redstone is named chairman of their respective companies.

Reps for Viacom and CBS Corp. declined to comment. Shari Redstone issued a statement Monday afternoon through spokeswoman Nancy Sterling: “It appears that third parties accessed and then disclosed to the Wall Street Journal highly confidential documents. We do not know what documents were disclosed and we have no further comment.”

The Journal report comes as attorneys for Sumner Redstone head to court again in Los Angeles to defend the mogul against efforts by his former companion, Manuela Herzer, to reclaim control of his health care decisions.

Herzer initiated legal action last month claiming that Redstone has become a “living ghost” and is mentally incapacitated, which raised investor hackles about his corporate role at Viacom and CBS. Herzer was ousted from Redstone’s home earlier this year, a move that reportedly paved the way for the recent warming of relations between the mogul and his daughter.

According to the Journal, the buyout deal that Shari Redstone rebuffed in 2014 also included a provision that she would not challenge the gifts of as much as tens of millions of dollars that her father was believed to have established for Herzer and another former companion, Sydney Holland. It’s unclear if those arrangements have changed now that both women have left Sumner Redstone’s home.

In addition to serving as president of National Amusements, Shari Redstone is co-founder and managing partner of Advancit Capital, a new media-focused venture capital fund she launched in 2011.

More Biz

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Wynn Nightlife Announces Residency for Roving

    Wynn Las Vegas to Host Residency for Roving Spanish Party Elrow

    One of Las Vegas’ biggest music players is doubling down on the power of a global brand instead of just a single DJ to help them stay on top of Sin City’s increasingly competitive clubbing scene. Wynn Nightlife has announced a year-long residency and partnership with Spain’s Elrow, a respected Ibiza-born party that last year [...]

  • PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’

    PledgeMusic Down to a ‘Skeleton Staff,’ Although a Potential Buyer Is in the Wings

    PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that has faced serious financial troubles in recent months, is down to a “skeleton staff” and payroll in the U.S. office ceased within the last month, sources close to the situation tell Variety, although a potential buyer is “very interested” in the company and has been in due diligence for several [...]

  • Michael Avenatti

    Michael Avenatti Arrested on Bank Fraud and Extortion Charges

    Attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested Monday and is facing federal charges on both coasts of bank fraud, misappropriating client funds, and trying to extort Nike. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege that Avenatti tried to extract more than $20 million from Nike, and said that if the company did not pay him, [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    DirecTV, Viacom Avert Blackout After Marathon Negotiation

    DirecTV and Viacom have agreed on a carriage renewal pact covering a raft of Viacom’s cable channels after a marathon negotiation over the weekend. In a joint statement early Monday, the companies said: “We are pleased to announce a renewed Viacom-AT&T contract that includes continued carriage of Viacom services across multiple AT&T platforms and products. [...]

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content