Thursday, June 02, 2016

As the Sumner Turns

This soap opera just keeps getting weirder. Sumner's granddaughter is now involved. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

“I know my grandfather” – Sumner Redstone – “has been incompetent since last October.” Can things get any more bizarre around the family that controls CBS and Viacom? Keryn Redstone broke with the family when she supported Sumner’s former live-in girlfriend and health-care decision-maker Manuela Herzer. Now Bloomberg says Keryn’s hired the same lawyer who reps Herzer, and “said she plans to work with Viacom’s directors in their legal battle for control of the company.” Keryn says “My experience is the same as the Viacom directors. Shari [Keryn’s aunt] will not let us see Sumner.” But Keryn says “because I was in the house, I know my grandfather has been incompetent” since last Fall. She says when she saw him for 15 minutes on Valentine’s Day, he was sitting “lifeless and flanked by his nurse and caretakers. He seemed unaware of his surroundings.” So when it comes to Sumner’s mental competence, what’s the truth? The Viacom independent directors fear he’ll kick them off the board. He’s already asked Viacom Executive Chair/CEO Philippe Dauman and George Abrams to leave the trust that will take over his 80% controlling interest in CBS and Viacom when he’s no longer able to make decisions. Dauman is suing to regain his position, and now here’s Keryn Redstone, agreeing with him that Sumner’s not competent. So now it’s the granddaughter, Philippe Dauman, and the independent directors essentially lining up against Shari. And last night, CNBC says Herzer “notifies the court of possible grounds for a new competency trial, based on evidence in Viacom CEO/Director suit.” More to come, no doubt.