Les Moonves’ CBS Wins Temporary Restraining Order to Block Any New Shari Redstone Moves

Media company will meet Thursday to decided on dividend to dilute Redstone’s controlling interest

shari redstone les moonves viacom cbs national amusements
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A Delaware court on Wednesday granted CBS and CEO Les Moonves a temporary restraining order against Shari Redstone and her holding company, National Amusements.

Through National Amusements, Redstone owns roughly 79 percent of the voting power in CBS and Viacom, which she has been trying to push to merge.

The restraining order will prevent Redstone and National Amusements from getting involved in CBS’ board meeting Thursday, during which the company is set to decide what permanent action it wants to take to diminish Redstone’s control over the company.

CBS is deciding whether to issue a stock dividend that would dilute Redstone’s interest to 17 percent from 79 percent. The company has said it’s open to exploring other options as well.

The judge in the case said he plans to issue a final ruling on Thursday after the CBS meeting.

Just before the court hearing on Wednesday, National Amusements and Redstone moved to change the CBS bylaws, requiring a supermajority of to approve the special dividend the board is considering. Basically, the board would need Redstone’s approval to dilute her stake.

The hearing took place on the same day CBS was having its upfront presentation in New York, and is likely the reason Moonves skipped the morning proceedings.

Later Moonves took the stage and joked about the court drama with Redstone. The CBS chief was welcomed with a standing ovation.

“Good afternoon, everyone … So, how’s your week been?” Moonves said. “Anyway, for years I’ve told you I’m only out here for a few minutes, and this year, perhaps, for the first time, I actually mean it.”

Deadline first reported the news of Wednesday’s court ruling.