A story published today by The Hollywood Reporter examines some of the most intriguing questions surrounding the increasingly nasty battle over a possible CBS-Viacom merger.
“Is Shari Redstone the protagonist in a drama that could be titled ‘Daddy Dearest,’ in which her domineering father years ago quietly devised a method to block her from eventually taking control of his media empire?” the article by Kim Masters and Eriq Gardner begins. “Or is CBS Corp., which stunned Redstone by suing May 14 to prevent her from forcing a merger with Viacom, just playing the long odds with an audacious legal argument?”
The piece also asks: “Has CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves calculated that even if his side loses, he’ll be paid handsomely to leave while sparing himself a possibly futile struggle to make a success of the combined companies?”
The report notes that “Moonves, 68, has launched open and potentially very personal warfare with Redstone, 64. CBS is arguing that a largely unknown (until now) provision in its charter allows the company to dilute the Redstones’ long-standing control by issuing new voting shares to stockholders. The implication is that in 2005, when mogul Sumner Redstone split his media empire into two stand-alone companies — CBS and Viacom — he slipped in a provision giving the respective boards a way to block his daughter should she eventually try to impose her will.”
At this point we still have more questions than answers, but we encourage readers to click on the link above to THR for a thought-provoking examination of where things stand in the messy, high-stakes legal fight.