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Shari Redstone Calls CBS Lawsuit ‘Outrageous’ and ‘Precipitous,’ Cites ‘Bullying’ of Board Member

Shari Redstone’s National Amusements has blasted CBS and some of its directors for the lawsuit filed Monday that seeks to dilute her voting interest in CBS Corp.

“National Amusements (NAI) is outraged by the action taken by CBS and strongly refutes its characterization of recent events. NAI had absolutely no intention of replacing the CBS board or forcing a deal that was not supported by both companies. NAI’s conduct throughout supports this, and reflects its commitment to a well-governed process,” the company said in a statement.

National Amusements is the holding company of Sumner Redstone and Shari Redstone that controls Viacom and CBS. CBS on Monday filed a lawsuit and requestion for a temporary restraining order to bar National Amusements from using its overwhelming voting power in CBS to make changes to the company’s bylaws or board members. The threat of Redstone installing new board members to CBS’ 14-member panel has loomed as Viacom and CBS engaged in merger negotiations, at NAI’s urging. CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves and Shari Redstone have been at odds about the strategic rationale for a possible transaction.

“CBS itself expressed support for the strategic merits of a combination with Viacom, and it is our understanding that both Special Committees had reached a provisional agreement on economic terms. NAI believes CBS’s action today was precipitated following NAI raising specific concerns about incidents of bullying and intimidation in relation to one CBS director, dating back to 2016. NAI has made every effort to deal with this matter privately and confidentially. Unfortunately, CBS’s action today continues to enable and empower such conduct,” the statement continued. “Ensuring the long-term success of CBS continues to be NAI’s sole interest.  This precipitous lawsuit, and the efforts of CBS management and its “independent” directors to wrest voting control from NAI, are outrageous.  We intend to defend our position vigorously and look forward to presenting our arguments in court.”

A source familiar with the situation said the bullying referenced in NAI’s statement involves interactions between Shari Redstone and another CBS board member. That board member is not believed to be Moonves.

(Pictured: CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves and Shari Redstone)

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