Saturday, May 19, 2018

Redstone Urged To Let Moonves Run CBS, Viacom

Bob Wright
In the fight to control CBS, former NBCUniversal CEO Bob Wright has placed all bets on Les Moonves, who he called one of "two really, really good media executives in this country."

CNBC reports he says CBS' ongoing resistance to a merger with Viacom will put an end to dual share structures at companies, once and for all.

"There's no benefit that Shari [Redstone] is bringing to the table with 10 percent ownership and trying to control all the board. It doesn't make sense anymore," Wright said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

National Amusements, owned by the Redstone family, has been trying to merge CBS and Viacom, both of which fall under its umbrella. But CBS and Viacom have not been able to come to terms on some aspects of the merger, and CBS has been fighting what it called interference by the Redstone family.

CBS wants to cut National Amusement's voting power by issuing a special dividend to shareholders.

As it stands, the share structure of CBS enables Shari Redstone, through theater and media holding company National Amusements, to maintain voting control over CBS, despite only owning about 10 percent of shares. Wright said these types of dual share structures can be helpful at the advent of a company, so "the guys that built it can protect the company for a while."

Furthermore, Wright said the merger Redstone is pushing between CBS and Viacom would be damaging, insofar as it ousts Moonves. If Redstone is "smart," Wright said, she will relinquish some of her voting power and allow Moonves to take charge of a merged CBS and Viacom.

Meanwhile, analyst Porter Bibb of Media Tech Capital Partners discusses why he believes the battle for CBS is unfair to shareholders.

CBS battle heats up from CNBC.

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