- Case in Massachusetts is scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 19
- Suit claims media mogul is unduly influenced by daughter Shari
Keryn Redstone, granddaughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, will continue to pursue a court case challenging his mental competence even if other plaintiffs in the fight for control of Viacom Inc. reach a settlement, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Sumner Redstone, 93, and his daughter Shari have sought to remove Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman and four other members of Viacom’s board. The elder Redstone is also seeking to remove Dauman and director George Abrams from a family trust that will oversee his interests in Viacom and CBS Corp. when he dies or is incapacitated. Dauman and Abrams are fighting those efforts in court, including a case in Massachusetts set for trial on Sept. 19.
Keryn Redstone, 34, is the daughter of Sumner’s son Brent. She has broken ranks with other family members and has joined Dauman and Abrams in opposing their removal from the trust in Massachusetts. Like Dauman and Abrams, she said in court filings that she believes her aunt Shari is manipulating her ailing grandfather.
Some Viacom directors are pressing to settle the lawsuits engulfing the company, a deal that could result in the departure of Dauman, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified disclosing the board members’ deliberations. He’s likely to be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley, they said.
The company, based in New York, is the parent of the pay TV channels Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, among others, and owns the Paramount Pictures film studio. Sumner Redstone’s closely held National Amusements Inc. controls 80 percent of the voting stock in Viacom, which has a market value of $17.3 billion, and CBS, valued at $23 billion.
Settlement talks also involve some of the contested board members retaining their roles and possible restrictions on the ability of the Redstone family to overrule the company’s independent directors.
A deal would end litigation in three states that the company has acknowledged is inhibiting its ability to conduct business, such as signing a video-streaming deal with an online TV provider and selling a minority stake in Viacom’s Paramount division.