Viacom, Redstone agree to settle

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Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman will step down as part of a settlement with controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone. But as Fred Katayama reports, this could create leadership turmoil.

Viacom, Redstone agree to settle

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman may soon be out of a job, ending the long fight for control over Sumner Redstone’s media empire that includes Viacom. Sources say Dauman will get $72 million as part of the settlement. Viacom COO Tom Dooley will be interim CEO.

Sources say the agreement also calls for Dauman to drop his lawsuit against National Amusements, the company that holds the voting shares of Redstone’s Viacom and CBS. National Amusements had removed Dauman from its trust. The settlement allows the company to add five new directors to its board.

Needham & Company senior analyst Laura Martin said, “This puts Viacom in leadership turmoil. We still don’t have a programmer at the head of the empire. Dauman and Dooley are not. You need to make good content, and they don’t have a good content CEO.”

The fight between Redstone and his former associate began when Dauman crafted plans to sell Viacom’s stake in Paramount Pictures. Redstone opposed it. And Viacom’s shares have lost half of their value in the last two years as ratings at Viacom’s cable networks fell. But they’ve risen 40 percent since Redstone cut Dauman from the trust, and those shares rose in early trading Friday.

Tags : Settle, Agree, Redstone, viacom

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