Viacom board re-elects Sumner Redstone


Sumner RedstoneViacom investors have reelected all of the company’s board members, including billionaire executive chairman Sumner Redstone. Viacom held its 2014 annual meeting for investors this week on its Paramount Pictures movie studio lot in LA.

Redstone, whose distinctive red hair has faded to white, made brief remarks to kickoff the meeting. He thanked investors for their attendance and for their continued support. Only a handful of investors attended the meeting, which lasted just 23 minutes, noted The LA Times.

Two investors asked questions. One wanted to know whether the company planned to alter its lopsided revenue split (television makes up about 70% of Viacom’s revenue and most of its profit, while the Paramount film unit contributes about 30% of the revenue).

No, Dauman said: “It will be approximately the same,” he said, noting the film division’s volatility and the more dependable profits from television. “The largest part of our business by far remains the media networks.”

The second investor asked about Viacom’s stock buyback program. The company plans to repurchase about $3.5 billion of its shares this year, including $850 million worth of stock this fiscal quarter.

Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the three measures on the proxy ballot, which was not surprising because Redstone controls more than 79% of the voting shares, and thus, he determines the outcome.

In addition to Redstone and Dauman, other directors reelected were: George Abrams, Thomas Dooley, Christiana Falcone Sorrell, Alan Greenberg, Robert Kraft, Blythe McGarvie, Deborah Norville, Charles Phillips Jr., Shari Redstone, Frederic Salerno and William Schwartz.

Shareholders also approved a non-binding measure on executive compensation. In 2013, Viacom paid its top three executives collectively more than $100 million. Dauman received a $37 million compensation package; Redstone received $36 million; and Dooley, the chief operating officer, was paid $29 million.

Viacom generated $13.8 billion in revenue in 2013 and net earnings of $2.3 billion. The company’s stock was up more than 65% last year, and it continues to trade near all-time highs.

See the LA Times story here.