“Extraordinary revelations emerged Tuesday about the tense — and, at times, allegedly physical — closed-door meetings between senior executives at CBS and Viacom, which remain locked in a battle over a potential merger,” NBC News reports. “Legal filings describe how Shari Redstone, one of the most powerful women in media, was reportedly manhandled by Charles Gifford, a member of the CBS board, with Gifford ‘grabbing her face and directing her to listen to him.'”
The report adds: “Redstone, 64, who is vice chairman of CBS and Viacom and the daughter of the ailing media mogul Sumner Redstone, is under fire from CBS, which claims that National Amusements, the holding company that retains 80 percent of the voting shares in CBS and Viacom, was usurping its role by trying to force a merger of the two and potentially replace CBS board members.
“Redstone suggested that Gifford, for one, not be renominated. After one meeting got physical, according to the filing, Gifford later told Redstone that he had meant no offense, adding ‘that was how he treats his daughters when he wants their attention.’ Redstone said she responded that ‘she was not Mr. Gifford’s daughter but instead the vice chair of CBS.'”
The latest filings in the ongoing legal dispute were made today by National Amusements Inc. in Delaware Chancery Court. The NAI filings call efforts by CBS to dilute NAI’s voting rights “unprecedented, unjustified and unlawful.”
CBS issued a statement today in response to the complaint from National Amusements, saying: “Today’s reactive complaint from NAI was not unexpected. The amended complaint filed last week by CBS and its Special Committee details the ways in which NAI misused its power to the detriment of CBS shareholders, and was submitted after careful deliberation by all involved. We continue to believe firmly in our position.”
NBC News adds: “CBS, which was once tied to Viacom but separated in 2006, is trying to dilute National Amusements’ control and prevent a potential merger. National Amusements fired back by changing CBS bylaws to prevent a potential dilution of its voting stock. The two parties are now in court.”