NEW YORK, Aug. 19 (UPI) — A Viacom Inc. board meeting approved a settlement to end a contentious legal battle between its CEO and its major stockholder.
Controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone, 92, and his formerly estranged daughter Shari Redstone ousted CEO Philippe Dauman, Sumner Redstone’s former protégé, a source told CNN. The Redstones will regain leadership of the company, which includes cable channels MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and the Paramount movie studio, among other media properties.
Longtime Viacom executive Tom Dooley, 59, will take over as CEO until September.
The Redstone family has controlling voting shares of Viacom and CBS Inc., a package valued at $40 billion. They demanded new leadership as Viacom’s stock price declined 45 percent in the past two years.
The settlement Thursday night ends lawsuits filed in Massachusetts and Delaware over Sumner Redstone’s alleged incapacitation and Dauman’s removal as CEO of National Amusements Inc., a privately held company which holds Sumner Redstone’s voting shares, as well as the trust that will lead all his properties after his death or mental incapacitation.
Court filings indicate the elder Redstone is in poor health and can barely speak, and wanted Dauman removed from Viacom leadership; Dauman’s court filings said Redstone was being manipulated by his daughter. The lawsuits will be withdrawn in light of the settlement and leaves the Redstones the winners, although Dauman will exit with a $72 million severance package.