The Talented Ms. Redstone

Sumner's daughter, Shari, is playing an increasingly large role in the world's third-biggest media company

There are some things only a daughter can know. Consider the telephone call Shari E. Redstone received from her father last August. Sumner M. Redstone, CEO and controlling shareholder of Viacom Inc., had just been approached by Mel A. Karmazin, the head of CBS Corp., who offered to sell the broadcasting giant to Viacom. "Dad, this is a done deal, isn't it?" Shari asked. "No, we're just looking at it," he replied. "No," she shot back. "I can hear it in your voice." Sure enough, barely two weeks later, the $40 billion acquisition was announced--a whopper of a deal, even by Sumner Redstone's standards.

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