Redstone Ends Trust Battle After Meeting With Granddaughter

  • Billionaire resolved issues with granddaugter Keryn Redstone
  • Accord is final chapter in legal fight begun by ex-Viacom CEO

Media mogul Sumner Redstone resolved his court fight with granddaughter Keryn after a “difficult and emotional” meeting between the two, his lawyer told a Massachusetts judge on Friday.

The resolution ends all outstanding disputes over Redstone’s trust in state probate court in Canton. In August, Keryn Redstone, the daughter of Sumner’s son Brent, agreed not to oppose the decision of the 93-year-old man she calls "Grumpy" to resolve related lawsuits over the removal of Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman.

Redstone’s mental health was at the center of a months-long battle over control of his $40 billion media empire anchored by Viacom. The fight, which pitted the billionaire against his old friends, eventually led to Dauman’s ouster. His granddaughter had joined Dauman in urging the court to require him to undergo a mental examination.

“These prolific papers and lawyering were not just about the number of digits
to the left of the decimal point in my view,” Judge George Phelan told the lawyers after the hearing. “Ultimately this was about loyalty family and the dignity of an American business icon whose perhaps most important goal and legacy is father and grandfather.”

While Dauman’s removal from the company helped settle lawsuits in Massachusetts and Delaware, it didn’t end three investor complaints filed in June and July and later consolidated. A judge in Delaware ruled Thursday that Sumner Redstone won’t have to answer lawyers’ questions under oath and stopped the process of gathering evidence until he decides whether to allow the case to proceed, a ruling that won’t come until next year.

The shareholders challenged decisions made by Viacom’s board to keep Redstone as a board member and as well as Redstone’s decision to replace certain Viacom directors, including Dauman and George Abrams.

The case is Dauman v. Redstone, 16-E0020, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, Norfolk County (Canton).

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