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Shari Redstone Fires Back at Viacom Board: It’s About the Shareholders, Stupid

More fur flies in the corporate drama that just won’t end

Shari Redstone wants the Viacom Board of Directors to stop worrying about her and start making some money. She’d also prefer Fred Salerno keep his letters of independence to himself in the future.

Additionally, in a statement released Tuesday, the daughter of Sumner Redstone provided some free fact-checking for her current corporate adversaries, such as that she already turned down a Viacom chair position in February.

Shari Redstone reiterated that she has no interest in managing Viacom, but is invested in seeing it once again become a success.

So here’s her advice to the Board: “Spend less time focusing on 1) Shari and 2) how to maintain their own directorships, and more time on a long term strategy to increase the value for shareholders and to develop a specific long-term plan to turn around the current state of Viacom.”

In response, Viacom simply stated: “Mr. Salerno’s letter is clear and speaks for itself.”

A person with knowledge of the situation said that the Chair position offered to Shari was of the non-executive variety, and thus not controlling of her father’s Trust, National Amusements, Inc., or Viacom.

On Monday, Viacom’s independent board members promised to fight what they called any “legally flawed” removals. Many believe oustings are right around the corner — it’s just unclear if they’ll be Sumner or Shari Redstone’s idea.

Below is the full statement Shari Redstone released Tuesday through her spokesperson.

In his letter yesterday, Fred Salerno said that Sumner Redstone had made the “….judgment for many years that his daughter, Shari, should not control Viacom or his other companies.” Today it was reported that Salerno’s letter said “…Redstone has always made it known that he did not want his daughter in control of the company.”

Salerno must have missed the widely reported fact that Sumner named Shari the non-executive Chair of both companies in the irrevocable Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust in 2002. He must have also missed the portion of the February Viacom Board meeting where Shari was offered the Chair position and turned it down.

Shari has made it abundantly clear that she has no desire to manage Viacom nor Chair its Board and is fully engaged in running and growing her firm, Advancit Capital. What she has also made clear is that what she wants for Viacom is the best management in place, and strong, independent Directors who will properly oversee that management.

The shareholders whom Salerno and the other independent directors purport to represent have already spoken – they want new management ‎at the top and strong Directors with independent oversight on the Board. The Board should spend less time focusing on 1) Shari and 2) how to maintain their own directorships, and more time on a long term strategy to increase the value for shareholders and to develop a specific long-term plan to turn around the current state of Viacom.