With the future of Viacom on the line, high-stakes talks are under way to settle the dispute between CEO Philippe Dauman and the Redstones — Sumner, the company’s 93-year-old founder, and his daughter Shari.
“Dauman accuses Shari Redstone of stepping into the void caused by Sumner’s mental incapacitation and masterminding an unauthorized corporate takeover of her dad’s $40 billion media empire, which includes CBS,” The New York Post reports. “Shari’s pirating of Viacom included dismissing Dauman from the family trust and the board of Viacom’s controlling entity, National Amusements, Inc.”
The report adds: “Dauman’s legal eagles at Paul Weiss believe they could leverage a winning hand to keep their client at Viacom’s wheel for another 18 months, sources said. That time would allow the CEO’s turnaround initiatives to be tested.”
The Dauman camp is reportedly seeking a new independent chief executive for National Amusements, replacing Sumner Redstone.
“It’s unclear the extent to which these initiatives have been fully discussed with Shari Redstone’s camp, but sources there confirmed that settlement talks have been initiated,” The Post notes. “Meanwhile, she is continuing to spend big on numerous legal fronts to hasten Dauman’s exit. Courts in Delaware and Massachusetts have yet to decide whether to hear questions of Sumner Redstone’s competency.”