The Sumner Redstone saga continues as Redstone aged 92 is still holding onto his company and his life. After kicking his girlfriend out of his house and his representatives stating he is mentally capable of running his finances and assets, the question still remains if Sumner is still capable. Redstone effectively controls and has a large stake in both Viacom Inc. and CBC Corp, worth around $40 billion. This is run and controlled by Redstone through his National Amusements Inc., theater chain.
Redstone’s descendants include his children, grandchildren and even a large number of outsiders. It is known that after he passes he will have a trust that includes seven members and has his daughter and her son included in it. Among the outsiders who will have something to either gain or lose from Redstone’s decline is Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom and many of Redstone’s lawyer friends. Time will tell if Redstone’s insistence in control will carry on past his death and make things more difficult for the people who inherit his media empire.
Last year, Redstone offered his daughter $1 billion for her stake in National Amusements Inc. with the stipulation that she would not try to vie for control of the companies after his death. Redstone has his own views on what he wants to do with the company and won’t concede to his family members let alone outsiders.
The Ailing Kingpin
Even with negative sentiment coming from Mario Gabelli, GAMCO founder, and a top shareholder of each company, making noise. There has been no sign of the company letting up and conceding to shareholders demands. While Redstone survives there isn’t much anyone can do. Gabelli simply asked what sort of condition he was in. Gabelli wants what’s good for shareholders. Many consider Viacom one of the worst managed companies. CBS is the favored company because of the stellar leadership under CEO Leslie Moonves.
Arguably the best course of action would be for the companies to merge after Redstone is out of the picture either by him falling to the wayside — unlikely, or him passing to the great beyond.
Ideally CBS looks like a good bet for investors to get in on for the long term as the company has better leadership than Viacom and could be poised to trend upwards if a merger deal or buyout ever occurred.