Redstone granddaughter agrees to case
dismissal, helps broader deal
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[August 27, 2016]
By Ross Kerber and Jessica Toonkel
CANTON, Mass. (Reuters) - The granddaughter
of Viacom Inc's controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone has agreed to
let a Massachusetts court dismiss claims brought by former company
leaders, a step that will help end a battle over the fate of the media
Lawyers for Keryn Redstone said at a Massachusetts court hearing on
Friday they have also agreed to mediate remaining parts of her family
dispute and that she will have an in-person meeting with her 93-year-old
"There will be peace in the Redstone valley" said Keryn Redstone's
attorney Pierce O'Donnell, speaking to reporters after the hearing at
Norfolk County Probate and Family Court in Canton, Massachusetts.
Keryn Redstone's interest in a family trust is worth $1 billion, he
While some terms must still be hammered out, Friday's agreements will
help end an ongoing legal saga over whether Redstone was mentally
competent when he removed former Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and board
member George Abrams from a trust that will determine the fate of his
On Saturday, Viacom announced that it had come to an agreement with
Redstone, and his privately-held National Amusements Inc, which owns 80
percent of the voting shares of Viacom and CBS Corp [nL1N1B10MX}.
Dauman has stepped down as CEO and will receive as much as $90 million
in cash and stock-based compensation, according to the agreement.
But Keryn Redstone, who is Shari Redstone's niece and was replaced as a
trustee in 2012, had challenged the validity of the settlement agreement
because she believes her grandfather is being manipulated by his
Under the settlement, the board of Viacom added the five directors that
National Amusements put forward in June, bringing the board to 15
directors after Dauman departs. Three of those directors are expected to
step down after Viacom's annual meeting next year, a source familiar
with the situation told Reuters last week.
[to top of second column]
executive chairman of CBS Corp. and Viacom, arrives at the premiere
of 'The Guilt Trip' in Los Angeles December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Fred
Despite that settlement, Keryn Redstone filed a cross-complaint in
connection to Dauman's lawsuit. In a filing on Thursday she also
questioned if Dauman's side did enough to assure themselves that
Redstone had the mental capacity to understand the terms.
Friday's court hearing drew about two dozen lawyers representing the
various Redstone family members plus Dauman, Abrams and others. A
morning session included heated moments as it became clear that most
of the family was looking to end the litigation, while O'Donnell
sought to raise questions about Redstone's mental capacity.
Sumner Redstone has not spoken on an investor call since 2014 and
has not spoken directly about the settlement since it was announced
Attorney Robert Klieger portrayed Sumner Redstone's health as
stable, saying the aging media mogul has had "no recent
hospitalizations." There is, Klieger said, "No reason to believe
that Mr. Redstone will not still be here with us for the duration of
this case on any reasonable schedule."
(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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