The spotlight on Sumner Redstone’s failing health and grip on his media empire intensified over the weekend as a Wall Street Journal report suggested that the Viacom and CBS chairman’s daughter, Shari, passed on a $1 billion offer for her interest in her father’s media companies.
According to the Journal, last year Sumner Redstone offered Shari $1 billion for her 20% interest in National Amusements, the company that holds the family’s 80% voting interest in both Viacom and CBS. The Journal said that Shari would have had to relinquish her right to become chairman of Viacom and CBS after her father’s death and her ability to contest some sizeable gifts he would have bequeathed to two companions, former girlfriend Sydney Holland and former girlfriend turned caregiver Manuela Herzer. (The Journal said the two now stand to receive substantially smaller awards after Redstone’s death.) Herzer is suing Redstone’s estate to be reinstated as his primary health care agent, a role that has since been assumed by long-time friend and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. A hearing on that matter was scheduled for today.
Redstone has said that after his death, his national Amusement interests would be placed in a trust controlled by seven trustees, including Shari, Dauman and others. Redstone has had a rocky relationship with his daughter over the years, but according to the report has been on better terms with her father of late, visiting him frequently.
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