UPDATE 5/16/18 1:15 PM: Shari Redstone is firing back at CBS Corp. after the media company moved to strip her family of voting control.
The Redstones and National Amusements responded Wednesday in a legal filing, saying they had no such intentions. They called CBS’s attempts to issue new voting shares to dilute their nearly 80% voting control “egregiously overboard and unjustified.
According to The Wall Street Journal, they also argue that CBS would have other options legally that wouldn’t require diluting the Redstones’ voting interest, including challenging the removal of any director.
“This is an unprecedented usurpation of a controlling stockholder’s voting power,” National Amusements’ lawyers wrote.
The documents filed by the Redstones were in opposition to the motion for a temporary restraining order that CBS’s special committee of independent board members filed on Monday.
Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, privately concedes that his fight to wrest control of the broadcast outfit from Shari Redstone could end with its sale to another player in the rapidly evolving media business, FOX Business has learned.
Insiders at CBS say a priority is achieving victory over Shari and her father, Sumner, who own a controlling stake through their holding company, National Amusements Inc. But these same insiders say Moonves is well aware of the challenges CBS will face as an independent company, given its relatively small size compared with the likes of Comcast, or if the courts allow, the proposed combination of AT&T and Time Warner.
With that in mind, Moonves will be open to a merger or being sold if the price is right. “Les knows what’s happening in the media industry,” said one CBS insider. “And he knows if he prevails here he could be sold.”
On Wednesday, a Delaware Chancery Court judge will hear arguments from CBS, which filed an unusual and explosive lawsuit earlier this week against the Redstones to dilute their controlling stake. The suit came after a contentious round of negotiations in which Shari Redstone was looking to merge CBS with the other media company the family controls, the ailing Viacom unit of National Amusements. Moonves has balked over price and her management demands.