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Published: Fri, July 15, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Philippe Dauman's Lawyers Are Talking Settlement With Sumner and Shari Redstone

Philippe Dauman's Lawyers Are Talking Settlement With Sumner and Shari Redstone

Although, Philippe Dauman is negotiating things with China's Dalian Wanda Group Co but investors are not yet convinced that the deal will go without opposition from Sumner Redstone, Viacom's controlling shareholder.

Earlier in this year, the Chinese company acquired Legendary Entertainment, a production firm for $3.5 and also with a stake in Paramount, the company's portfolio would surely enrich.

"Unless Viacom's board presents a concrete plan that convinces him otherwise, Redstone continues to believe that it is in the best interest of Viacom that Paramount Pictures should remain wholly owned by the parent company, " a spokesperson for Redstone said in late May.

Paramount is said to have received a great deal of interest since it announced it was looking for a buyer for as much as 49% of the struggling studio, but many potential interested parties have balked at the idea of owning a minority stake, preferring to buy the whole studio.

Throughout the legal face-off, Dauman has said Viacom has been working on the Paramount stake sale, even after National Amusements changed its bylaws to require unanimous approval from Viacom's board for any deal related to Paramount.

Viacom had narrowed the field of potential Paramount bidders to two companies, according to a knowledgeable person.

Wanda didn't respond to requests for comment.

Earlier this year, Wanda invested in Paramount's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" sequel. National Amusements, Redstone's privately-held theater chain, owns almost 80% of the controlling shares in Viacom and CBS (CBS), the largest pieces of Redstone's $80 billion media empire.

In addition to challenging the merits of a Paramount deal, NAI says that the decision shouldn't be made by "individuals who may be leaving the board shortly".

Last month, National Amusements moved to replace Dauman and four other directors on Viacom's board, an action that is being contested in a DE court. Dauman has said the divestiture would unlock value of $10 or more per Viacom share and that he would use the proceeds from a sale to pay off debt and for strategic development, particularly overseas.

"Dauman accuses Shari Redstone of stepping into the void caused by Sumner's mental incapacitation and masterminding an unauthorized corporate takeover of her dad's $40 billion media empire, which includes CBS", The New York Post reports. His daughter Shari Redstone is its president.

Redstone controls nearly 80 per cent of the voting stock at Viacom and has a similar stake in CBS Corp.

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