CBS CEO Les Moonves Walks Out After A Settlement Agreement

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CBS CEO Les Moonves Walks Out After A Settlement Agreement

CEO Leslie Roy Moonves walked out of CBS this week after a settlement agreement was decided between the media firm and controlling shareholder National Amusements. The investor holds a nearly 80% stake in the company and had been accused by CBS of abusing its control by threatening the independent corporate governance of the company after it had pushed for a merger with Viacom – a company it also holds a controlling stake in.

Due to allegations of sexual harassment and assault, Leslie Roy Moonves might receive a smaller severance package than the norm, despite being one of the media world’s highest paid CEOs. CBS will also donate $20 million of his compensation to organizations that support the #MeToo movement and workplace equality. His severance package will depend on an ongoing internal investigation into his behavior.

Peter Lynch: How Investors Can Find Their Edge

Peter LynchPeter Lynch was one of the best growth investors of all time. As the Magellan Fund manager at Fidelity Investments between 1977 and 1990, he averaged a 29.2% annual return. Q1 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The fund manager's investment strategy was straightforward. He wanted to find growth companies and sit on them Read More


Now that Leslie Roy Moonves is out, the CBS board is being reshaped, with six new director additions, including three women, and a reiteration from Redstone to consider new bids from potential buyers.

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Q2 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

What we'll be watching for this week

  • Will Campbell Soup move to appoint a full time CEO?
  • Will Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio respond to Schottenfeld Management’s calls for a sale?
  • How will Envision Healthcare shareholders vote on Tuesday on the proposed takeover by private equity firm KKR?

Activist shorts update

Viceroy Research took a short position in Canada-based Pretium Resources, claiming that it is manipulating its gold grades to mislead investors. Viceroy alleged that Pretium’s mining results were distorted in a feasibility study compiled by Strategic Minerals, a firm owned by Sima Muroff, an investor previously accused of misappropriation of funds by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The short seller also said government documents indicate that Pretium is moving at least double the bulk tonnage from one of its underground mines than it has disclosed. Viceroy said this suggests the company’s reported grades are inflated, that more mining waste is being dumped into local lakes, and that more explosives are being utilized.

Viceroy also noted that Pretium had about $700 million of debt during the second quarter of 2018, with an effective interest rate of about 15%. The short seller described the company’s equity as worthless and predicted the findings would cause massive trouble for the gold miner.

In response, Pretium filed an amended report, stating that the reported figure for the total volume of rock excavated at its Brucejack Mine during 2017 in its 2017 annual report is incorrect. The company posted the correct value on its website and said that all other data in the report remains unchanged.

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Chart of the week

The number of U.K.-headquartered companies that have been publicly subjected to activist demands by U.S.-headquartered activists (between January 1 and September 07).

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Financial news and data providers Activist Insight and Proxy Insight announced in October 2020 that they had merged to form Insightia, a leader in the field of public company information. Activist Insight was formed in 2012 and offers an extensive range of products including Activist Insight Online, Activist Insight Governance, Activist Insight Vulnerability, Activist Insight Shorts, Activist Insight Monthly magazine, and The Activist Insight Podcast. Proxy Insight has quickly become the world’s leading source of information on global shareholder voting, covering such hot topics as director and auditor elections, “say on pay” resolutions and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) proposals.

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