Sumner Redstone may have once again ruined his chances at being named “Father of the Year,” but the apparent widening of the rift between himself and daughter Shari over control of Viacom appears to have had a positive effect on the media giant’s stock.
In a profile report on CNBC’s Business Nation—excerpts of which were provided on the cable channel’s Web site—Redstone said that his daughter would not succeed him after his death. The controversial media mogul also added that he doesn’t expect to die anytime soon.
Viacom shares were up as much as 32 cents each early Thursday to $28.73 and closed at $28.44 per share, up 3 cents each. The rise was a rare one for Viacom stock, which is down more than 30% so far this year.
In an interview with CNBC aired Thursday, Redstone said that while his daughter Shari is qualified to run a big company, it won’t be Viacom.
According to the CNBC interview, Redstone said his daughter won’t succeed him—not because she isn’t qualified—but because good corporate governance practices require that the decision be made by Viacom’s board of directors.
“The reason she won’t succeed me is not that she isn’t qualified, but I have made it clear that good governance requires—these are two public companies, they’re not private...—the board should decide who succeeds me. I’m not worried about it. It’s going to be another 20 or 30 years.”
While Sumner Redstone said that the negotiations with his daughter are amicable, a statement issued to CNBC appeared to indicate that may no longer be the case.
“Ongoing discussions between Ms. Redstone and Mr. Redstone were, by mutual agreement, supposed to be confidential and Ms. Redstone will not publicly comment on Mr. Redstone’s characterization of them…,” the statement on behalf of Shari Redstone said.
“Ms Redstone will say that these discussions have not resulted in any final agreement and that, as President of National Amusements and its co-owner with Mr. Redstone, she is committed to fully protect the best interests of National Amusement, including its subsidiaries Viacom and CBS, and to ensure that any successor to Mr. Redstone as Viacom and CBS chair has the full support of the companies’ shareholders and directors.”
Both father and daughter had publicly battled last year about possible succession scenarios. While that caused a major rift between the two, they appeared to have reached a truce late last year.
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