January 19, 2016 / 3:37 PM / 3 years ago

Activist investor Eric Jackson seeks management shakeup at Viacom

(Reuters) - Activist investor Eric Jackson said Viacom Inc should change its board and leadership, cut costs and make a push into digital offerings to boost its stock price.

A woman exits the Viacom Inc. headquarters in New York April 30, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jackson, who also asked for the resignation of Viacom Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone, said the changes could boost the company’s stock by as much as 135 percent, according to a 99-page report he published on LinkedIn.

Viacom’s shares, which nearly halved in value in 2015, rose 7.5 percent to $42.86 in morning trading on Tuesday.

“Viacom management has underperformed for years with no accountability,” Jackson said, calling the company’s board one of the biggest and highest paid in the media industry.

The owner of Paramount Pictures film studio and Comedy Central cable network has been struggling with sliding audience ratings as consumers shift to streaming services such as Netflix Inc and Hulu.

Redstone, a 92-year-old media mogul who has been with Viacom for a decade, was sued in November by his former girlfriend Manuela Herzer, who sought to have him examined to see if he was mentally able to make decisions for himself.

This has raised concerns over whether Redstone is capable of continuing as executive chairman of Viacom and CBS Corp.

Redstone controls about 80 percent of Viacom’s class A voting shares through his holding company, National Amusements Inc. Most outsiders hold Viacom’s class B shares, which do not have voting rights.

Jackson is managing director at SpringOwl Asset Management.

The New York Times first reported Jackson’s comments earlier on Tuesday.

Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Kirti Pandey

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