CBS and the Redstones may want to book Judge Judy

CBS declares war on Shari Redstone over Viacom merger

On Wednesday, the company will hold its 2018-2019 Upfront presentation in NY.

CBS Corp. essentially declared war on Shari Redstone on Monday, filing a lawsuit meant to thwart her effort to push through a merger of CBS and Viacom Inc.

The two companies previously explored a merger in 2016 at the urging of Shari and Sumner Redstone, who believe a deal is needed for the two smaller media companies to compete with growing internet powers Netflix Inc and Amazon.com pushing deeper into the media business.

CBS's lawsuit said Redstone rejected an approach by an unnamed potential acquirer of CBS, citing that as another reason her interests are not aligned with other CBS shareholders.

It also wants to dilute the shareholdings of NAI, which has voting control at both CBS and Viacom.

CBS does not want to be weighed down by Viacom's struggling cable channels.

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Today, it is the talk of Wall Street, thanks to the filing of a lawsuit in DE by CBS Corp. and its Special Committee of its Board of Directors alleging breaches of fiduciary duty by National Amusements Inc. - the Shari Redstone-controlled entity that controls CBS and Viacom and wants the companies to recombine.

Verizon had expressed interest in acquiring CBS before merger talks heated up with its corporate sibling Viacom, sources say. "If consummated, the dividend would enable the company to operate as an independent, non-controlled company and more fully evaluate strategic alternatives".

Mid-Monday morning trading of CBS stock was up 1.2% to $53.23; Viacom was down 7% to $28.15.

News of the lawsuit sent CBS shares up almost 3 percent and Viacom shares down more than 6 percent.

Multiple sources say Verizon had been involved in high-level discussions with CBS previous year.

National Amusements called the lawsuit "outrageous" and said that it disputes CBS' "characterization of recent events.We intend to defend our position vigorously and look forward to presenting our arguments in court".

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