Sumner Redstone removes Viacom CEO and board member from trust

Sat May 21, 2016 12:36am EDT
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By Jessica Toonkel

(Reuters) - Media mogul Sumner Redstone has removed Viacom (VIAB.O: Quote) CEO Philippe Dauman and Viacom board member George Abrams from the seven-person trust that will determine the fate of both Viacom and CBS (CBS.N: Quote) in the event of his incapacitation or death, two people familiar with the situation told Reuters Friday.

Reuters reported Tuesday that Redstone, who turns 93 next week, had the power to remove certain members of the trust, including Dauman.

The move by Sumner Redstone, gives his daughter, Shari Redstone, who is also on the trust and vice chair of CBS and Viacom, a victory and more certain control to determine the fate of her father's $40 billion media empire.

According to documents faxed to Dauman and Abrams, Redstone also removed Abrams and Dauman from the board of National Amusements Inc, the privately held movie company which owns 80 percent voting stake in CBS and Viacom, one of the sources said.

Both sources wished to remain anonymous because they are not permitted to speak to the media.

CBS and Viacom also received faxed notifications, according to Fortune, which first reported Sumner Redstone's move.

A spokesman for Dauman called the steps "illegal and invalid" in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"They are a shameful effort by Shari Redstone to seize control by unlawfully using‎ her ailing father Sumner Redstone's name and signature. As she knows and as court proceedings and other facts have demonstrated, Sumner Redstone now lacks the capacity to have taken these steps," the spokesman said.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of CBS Corp. and Viacom, arrives at the premiere of 'The Guilt Trip' in Los Angeles December 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo