CBS sues Redstone firm over dilutive dividend, endangering Viacom deal
15 May, 2018, 21:53 | Author: Rafael Roberts
"Ms. Redstone interfered with the CBS Board nomination process and installed on the Board the Redstones" personal lawyer, who has sought to implement her directives, ' states one.
The lawsuit was pre-emptive, CBS said, because Ms. Redstone had considered replacing CBS's board if it continued to resist a merger with Viacom.
NAI says it is outraged by the actions and is expected to file its response to the courts on Tuesday.
Monday's suit is created to prevent Redstone "from interfering", according to a CBS statement. Though National Amusements abandoned a proposal for CBS and Viacom to combine in 2016, CBS fears it may come up again.
CBS has raised the stakes in its ongoing power struggle with the Redstone family as it tries to prevent a forced merger with Viacom.
CBS and Viacom formed special committees to explore the merger in February.
Moonves wants CBS COO Joseph Ianniello to be president and COO of the merged entity, and to succeed him as CEO when he retires. A sticking point in merger talks is what role her handpicked lieutenant - Viacom CEO Bob Bakish - would play. "This is not too dissimilar to the course of action at Viacom sometime back when the board sued the Redstones, but the circumstances were different due to the ground of litigation as well as credibility of the management team at Viacom", Venkateshwar wrote in a research note.
National Amusements may view a combined media property, whose assets include a top broadcast network, a film studio and multiple cable outlets, as positioned to fetch a higher price from a potential acquirer.
CBS said the committee is seeking to "protect stockholders' interests and unlock significant stockholder value".
Ms. Redstone has called the CBS Lawsuit 'Outrageous, "Precipitous, ' and 'Bullying.' A statement from National Amusements responded, "NAI had absolutely no intention of replacing the CBS board or forcing a deal that was not supported by both companies". NAI has made every effort to deal with this matter privately and confidentially.
The lawsuit came at the beginning of a big week for CBS. On Wednesday, the company will hold its 2018-2019 Upfront presentation in NY. Moonves typically speaks on stage and promotes the strength of the network at the Carnegie Hall event.
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