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Shari Redstone and CBS Board in Talks to Avoid Taking Legal Dispute to Trial

Redstone and Les Moonves are fighting for control of the media giant

Shari Redstone’s family company, National Amusements, and the CBS board of directors have been in talks for weeks, trying to reach a settlement in their messy, public legal dispute over control of CBS.

The two sides would like to avoid heading to trial, which is expected to begin Oct. 3, according to an individual familiar with the talks. Members of the CBS board and representatives for National Amusements met over Labor Day weekend. According to the individual, however, nothing is expected to happen imminently.

Representatives for National Amusements and CBS declined to comment.

In May, CBS filed to sue Redstone and National Amusements, through which she controls roughly 80 percent of the voting power in CBS. CBS, and chief executive Les Moonves, argued that Redstone had shirked her duty to shareholders by pushing for a merger with Viacom, which CBS saw as potentially harmful to the value of the company. Moonves and CBS also laid out a plan to issue dividends that would dilute Redstone’s control of the company altogether.

Lawyers for both sides are expected to appear in Delaware court Sept. 14 for a hearing to compel additional documents in the complex case.

Adding to the debacle is the large question mark looming over Moonves’ future. Industry experts have previously told TheWrap that the CBS chief could be ousted in his battle with Redstone.

In July, the New Yorker reported on sexual harassment accusations from six women that further threatened his future.

CBS is currently investigating the accusations. Moonves issued a statement in July that said, in part: “There were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.