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CBS, Shari Redstone Eye Early October for Trial Start, Aug. 10 Set for Shareholder Meeting

The battle of Shari Redstone vs. Leslie Moonves could come to a head in early October as the sides try to sort out a schedule for a trial in the fight for control of the company.

Meanwhile, CBS has rescheduled its annual shareholders meeting for Aug. 10 in Pasadena, Calif. The original date of May 18 was postponed in the wake of CBS’ explosive breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit filed against parent company National Amusements Inc., which is headed by Redstone.

Legal correspondence filed in Delaware Chancery Court on Wednesday indicated that the sides are looking at an early October start date for a trial expected to take about five days. Some industry observers are skeptical as to whether the standoff between Redstone and the longtime CBS leader will wind on until October or if the sides will reach a settlement.

CBS made the first move on May 14, filing a lawsuit claiming NAI and Redstone have breached their fiduciary duty to CBS shareholders by pushing a proposed merger with Viacom and taking other steps that the board deemed not in the best interests of all shareholders. NAI also controls Viacom.

The CBS board voted 11-3 on May 17 to issue the dividend that would reduce NAI’s voting stake in the company from about 80% to about 20%. NAI has countersued, calling the vote invalid and arguing that the board’s moves have created turmoil that has been detrimental to the company.

CBS’ annual meeting had long been scheduled to be held on May 18 but amid the heat of the legal filings, the board voted 11-3 to postpone the meeting. The shift to Pasadena’s Langham Huntington Hotel was made because key CBS executives are expected to be on the West Coast on that date. Former Time Warner chief Richard Parsons is expected to be elected to the CBS board at the meeting.

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