Sumner Redstone’s empire is worth an estimated $6.4 billion, mostly from his controlling interests in CBS and Viacom, but his ailing health has increasingly sparked questions over who will take over his fortune.
While the 91-year-old claims he will live forever, the media mogul’s succession plans were the subject of a Vanity Fair investigation in its June issue.
Live-in 43-year-old girlfriend Sydney Holland and his close friend and former girlfriend, 50-year-old Manuela Herzer, still insist that Redstone is thriving, however. “If you ever saw the way he looked, he’s got this beautiful hair and has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen in my life, not one wrinkle on his face,” Holland told Vanity Fair.
Redstone didn’t meet personally with contributing editor William D. Cohan, but he did exchange a string of insightful emails.
Read the revelations below.
He’s still fit and active — allegedly
“I still get up at 4:30/5 a.m. every day I ride my bike and go to the pool and get a haircut. I’m really into watching sports. I love baseball of course,” Sumner said. However, Viacom designated C.O.O. Tom Dooley said Sumner does not walk well or easily and has round-the-clock staff to help him move. “He can’t run out of a building,” Dooley explained. Other insiders told Vanity Fair that Redstone needs a feeding tube, can’t speak, is “pretty out to it,” and “looks like death.”
Never going to step down
“You should know that I am never retiring!!!” wrote the 91-year-old.
Always watches the stocks
“While I confess to being happier on the days that the share prices go up, I remain very pleased with the performance and management teams of both companies,” Redstone said, when asked if he was concerned by recent struggles including cord cutters and the loss of Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Jon Stewart.
“There will always be short-term challenges, but the futures of both Viacom and CBS are extremely bright. As I have said many times I believe in professional management, and in Philippe [Dauman, C.E.O. of Viacom] and Les [Moonves, C.E.O. of CBS] I have supremely talented executives who are more than qualified to lead the companies that I have built and create long term value.”
Still talks With Viacom Chief Philippe Dauman and CBS Honcho Les Moonves
“I maintain active interest in business and particularly in matters concerning Viacom and CBS, including frequent contact with Philippe and Les about important issues,” Redstone confirmed, adding that he plans to attend the CBS annual meeting in New York on May 21.
Regrets? He’s had a few, but won’t reveal them
“I have no regrets that I would like to share,” Redstone said.
He also won’t talk about his interesting personal relationships
Asked about the bizarre triangle between Holland and Herzer, and if they are beneficiaries, he replied: “How I met Sydney is not important. What is important is what a great person she is and how much I love her. I have known Manuela for over 20 years. She and her children are family to me. Her house in LA is 5 minutes away from my house and I get to see her frequently.
“Manuela is one of the smartest women I have ever met. As for my estate plan, that is personal,” he added. Nor would he comment on whether they will run his foundation in the event of his death, which he of course insists will never happen.
He still compiles all emails and faxes
“It has always been my practice to dictate correspondence, which I continue to do through assistants and others designated by me,” Redstone said, confirming that he understands all legal documents he signs.