Viacom shares were up more than 3% in trading Friday amid rumors that controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone is poised to replace the company’s board of directors.
Viacom shares have been climbing all week as an extraordinary public battle has unfolded between Redstone and Viacom chairman-CEO Philippe Dauman. Shares spiked on Friday morning after CNBC’s David Faber reported that nine of Viacom’s 11 board members — save for Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone — are bracing for their ouster and preparing to mount a legal challenge.
The drama surrounding the board overshadowed some good news for Viacom on Friday. The company set a long-term carriage agreement with Cox Communications that includes expanded on-demand rights to the its cable channels. The deal also covers Epix, the premium movie channel that Viacom owns with MGM and Lionsgate.
Sumner Redstone has broad discretion to replace the board thanks to his control of 80% of the voting interest in Viacom and CBS Corp. Redstone owns preferred shares that allow him iron-clad control of both companies.
Viacom shares were up 4% at the close of trading Friday to $44.24.