A bitter boardroom battle for control of Viacom appears to be in its final stages, with CEO Philippe Dauman expected to part ways with the company — bringing with him a “generous exit package,” the Los Angeles Times reports, citing three sources who are close to the situation.
“As part of the compromise being negotiated, Viacom Chief Operating Officer Thomas Dooley would be elevated to chief executive, according to people familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because of the delicate and confidential nature of the settlement talks,” the Times reports.
“In addition to Dauman’s departure, the Redstone family is determined to see the Viacom board get an overhaul,” the report adds. “The two sides are near an agreement that Viacom’s existing board members would continue to serve for several months before five new directors take seats on the board, according to another person familiar with the talks.”
But one key roadblock remains that could derail a potential agreement: Dauman’s plan to sell 49% of Paramount Pictures to an outside investor.
“Dauman had hoped a deal with a deep-pocketed investor, believed to be Dalian Wanda Group of China, would boost Viacom’s stock price and give the movie studio and Viacom’s TV channels inroads into China,” the Times reports. “But the Redstones believe that Paramount is core to Viacom’s operations and its future. They have strenuously opposed Dauman’s plan to unload such a sizable stake and have said they would want the new directors to weigh in on any Paramount deal.”
The report notes that Dauman, 62, has agreed to leave the company after 10 years in the top job with a golden parachute valued at about $85 million.