Mid-Day Report: Viacom, Inc. Drama Rivals Original Programming (VIAB)

Levels of intrigue abound in the latest installment of the Viacom, Inc. (VIAB) saga. No, not the latest summer blockbuster from Paramount Pictures or irreverent TV program from CBS or Comedy Central, but the top brass of the company itself.

92-year-old Sumner Redstone, majority owner of National Amusements — which itself is the majority owner of CBS Corporation (CBS) and Viacom — has over the weekend reportedly rejected the names put forth to replace recently ousted board members of the $40 billion media empire.

Yet these two board members are longtime associates of Mr. Redstone’s, whose health and mental capacity has been under much scrutiny for the past year.

Viacom officials are discussing whether Redstone’s daughter Shari — President of National Amusements and Vice Chairwoman of both Viacom and CBS — is making a power play to usurp control of her father’s board selections. She and her father were long-estranged, but have recently reportedly reconciled.

Viacom shares are actually up more than 3 percent in the pre-markets. CBS shares were up about half a percentage point his morning. It does not appear much here is priced in at this point, but there are plenty of plot points certainly to come.

Elsewhere, Monsanto Company (MON) has rejected the latest buyout offer from Garmany-based Bayer AG (ADR) (BAYRY) for $62 billion. Should a deal emerge eventually between the two firms, it would be the biggest-ever acquisition by a German company.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor
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