CBS Sues Controlling Shareholder National Amusements, Accuses Shari Redstone Of Undermining Board

CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves

The CBS-Viacom remerger drama has taken a turn toward all-out war today as CBS filed a lawsuit against majority owner National Amusements after deciding against merging with Viacom.

CBS is suing its parent company in a move that could kill a merger with Viacom (VIA, VIAB).

The lawyers have also requested a temporary restraining order to keep Shari and her father from attending that meeting.

A renewed effort in recent months had CBS offered a plan to acquire Viacom for what Viacom believes was an under-priced agreement.

CBS went on to accuse Redstone of interfering with the CBS board nomination process, of acting to undermine CBS' "highly lauded and successful management team in a series of escalating attacks", and blocking another unnamed acquisition partner from pursuing a deal with CBS.

National Amusements controls a similar share of the vote at Viacom.

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The filing later states: 'Ms.

As permitted under CBS' charter, the network says it could declare a dividend of shares of Class A common stock to all the Company's Class A and Class B stockholders. During the course of the special committee's negotiations regarding a possible merger, the suit alleges that Ms. Redstone refused to agree to typical public company governance or submit any potential transaction to a vote of all of the unaffiliated public stockholders of CBS.

"The Special Committee has taken this step because it believes it is in the best interests of all CBS stockholders, is necessary to protect stockholders' interests and would unlock significant stockholder value".

CBS Corp. has scheduled a meeting of the full CBS Board for this Thursday to consider potential responses to Ms. Redstone's conduct, including the issuance of a dividend that would effectively reduce the Redstones' and National Amusements' voting power, from 80 percent to approximately 17 percent.

Shari Redstone, who wants the merger between the two companies, is accused of "breaching her fiduciary duty to CBS shareholders in her pursuit of a CBS-Viacom merger".

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