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Viacom Says Redstone to Miss Annual Meeting Due to Conflict

Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone won’t attend the company’s annual meeting because of an “unavoidable conflict.”

Redstone, 88, will address investors at the March 8 meeting in New York in a video, Carl Folta, a spokesman, said today in a statement. The absence isn’t health-related, he said.

The chairman, who controls Viacom and CBS Corp. through his National Amusements Inc., participates in shareholder meetings and earnings calls. The Los Angeles resident attended the Academy Awards on Feb. 26, and on March 28 will be presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Due to an unavoidable conflict, Mr. Redstone will be addressing shareholders on a video presentation,” according to the statement issued by Folta.

Investors won’t view Redstone’s absence as a cause for alarm, analysts David Joyce at Miller Tabak & Co. and David Bank at RBC Capital Markets said in e-mails.

Viacom, owner of MTV and Paramount Pictures, gained 2.5 percent at the close of trading in New York. The Class B stock has climbed 7.5 percent this year. The Wall Street Journal reported the story earlier today.

CBS declined to comment on Redstone’s plans for its annual meeting, set for May 26 in New York. The owner of the most-watched broadcast network rose 1.5 percent to $30.35 today and has gained 12 percent in 2012.

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