Sumner Redstone sells some $236M in CBS, Viacom shares


Sumner RedstoneJust before his 91st birthday on 5/27, the CBS Corp. and Viacom Executive Chairman has sold $236 million in stock in the two companies he controls. He has pocketed the money from exercising Viacom and CBS options and selling the underlying shares. Including sales earlier in the year, he has raised just over $300 million so far in 2014—his biggest cash-out in five years, says a Wall Street Journal story.

Redstone has been clearing up his estate to take advantage of tax benefits, say people familiar with the situation.

He also has made a number of philanthropic commitments that need to be met, including pledges to George Washington University, Harvard Law School, which he attended, and Boston University School of Law, where he once taught.

Redstone’s holdings in Viacom and CBS are currently worth around $6 billion. At the CBS annual meeting in Los Angeles last week, he welcomed the crowd and introduced CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, whom he referred to as “a super genius.”

Redstone continues to be paid by both companies. In 2013, he received salary and bonus totaling $10.2 million for his role at Viacom and $11.75 million from CBS. He also earned $17 million in dividends for the most recent quarter from his stakes in both companies. Redstone controls Viacom and CBS through National Amusements Inc., a holding company that started as a movie-theater business by his father. He owns 80% and his daughter Shari owns the other 20%. But it is his grandchildren who stand to inherit his fortune as beneficiaries of a family trust.

See the Wall Street Journal story here.