The drama and gossip surrounding Viacom, and the company’s future, may soon be coming to an end.
Conversely, the company could be set to heat up the financial media world anew in just a few weeks.
In a memo distributed to Viacom employees late on August 19, COO Tom Dooley announced that he has become the company’s interim CEO and that Phillipe Dauman had stepped down as chief executive, effective immediately.
Additionally, Dooley noted that Viacom’s board would increase in size by five members, all nominated by National Amusements Inc., the Sumner Redstone-led entity that enjoys an 80% voting stake in Viacom.
Once that was agreed to, National Amusements indicated that its legal fight against Viacom over control of the company would come to an end.
An official announcement from Viacom was expected by the opening bell on Wall Street August 22.
Viacom’s Q4 2016 ends September 30. Thus, a new CEO will likely start October 1.
Viacom’s holdings include CBS, which intends to spin off its CBS Radio division—something Mr. Redstone supports, CBS Chairman/CEO Les Moonves said at a May 2016 shareholders meeting.
CBS Radio in early July filed for an initial public offering of $100 million—a “placeholder” amount as several options about the division’s future are considered.
According to multiple sources, Dauman will collect $72 million under a separation agreement with Viacom.
Dauman—who became executive chairman after Redstone stepped down—was removed from the “Sumner A. Redstone National Amusements Inc. Trust” in May, with Redstone explaining that he was dissatisfied with Viacom’s performance and a plan to sell a stake in its Paramount Pictures studio division.
Dauman sued, arguing that the aging Redstone was being unduly influenced by his daughter, Shari Redstone.
In after-hours trading late Friday, VIA stock was up a penny from Friday’s close, at $48.71.