CBS Shares Nosedive as Board Debates CEO Les Moonves’ Future

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CBS Corp.’s stock fell in early trading on Monday as the network’s board of directors met to discuss the future of embattled CEO Les Moonves.

Early trading shows CBS’s shares are down nearly 4 percent at around $52.00 at 7:10 am PST after tumbling 6 percent Friday following the release of Ronan Farrow’s bombshell expose, in which six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment dating back more than two decades.

Sanford Bernstein financial analyst Todd Juenger says Moonves’ #MeeToo scandal could have negative ramifications for the television giant’s share prices. “While the specifics of this situation carry a heavier human and societal weight, the stock situation (relative to our Outperform rating) is not unlike other situations where we believe the long-term value of an asset is materially higher than the current market price, but there may be short-term catalysts that could impact the stock negatively in the near term,” Juenger said. “It is also not unlike other stock situations where there are foreseeable scenarios/risks that could materially reduce our value creation thesis over the long term entirely.” CBS is still going ahead with plans to report its quarterly earnings on Thursday and hold its annual shareholder meeting

The company is also scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday and hold its annual shareholder meeting on Friday in Pasadena, California on August 10.

In a statement issued Friday, the embattled media executive admitted there were times during his long career where he made women feel “uncomfortable.” “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely,” he said. “But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career,” Moonves said. “This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”

The network’s board of governors on Monday are scheduled to hold a teleconference meeting “around midday Eastern time,” to discuss plans for independent members to probe sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves. CBS announced on Friday the network would launch a probe into the matter and vowed to swiftly “review the findings and take appropriate action.”

Moonves’, one of America’s highest compensated CEOs, has a net worth of $700 million, according to Forbes. The network executive is widely credited for launching numerous successful programs, including Survivor and Everybody Loves Raymond. 

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