Viacom’s parent company blasted the company’s board of directors for agreeing to bankroll CEO Philippe Dauman’s lawsuit against Sumner Redstone, the company’s controlling shareholder.
“Viacom’s disclosures reveal that, under Philippe Dauman’s leadership, Viacom is diverting valuable corporate resources to mount a legal and PR campaign against Sumner Redstone, despite the fact that Redstone is Viacom’s Founder, Chairman Emeritus and controlling shareholder,” National Amusements, Inc. said this afternoon through a company spokesperson.
“There is no justification for Viacom to use company dollars to fund Dauman’s and George Abrams’ unfounded attack on Redstone’s lawful decision to remove them as trustees from Redstone’s trust, especially in light of Viacom’s announcement that its fiscal third-quarter earnings will fall short of estimates,” the statement continued. “The need for strong, independent oversight of Viacom could not be more apparent.”
Here’s Viacom’s response: “It is clear that Shari Redstone’s actions are impeding Viacom. On the very day that Shari and her representatives acted to remove Mr. Dauman and Mr. Abrams, they made it obvious the issue is control of Viacom. It is certainly in the interests of all of Viacom’s stockholders that the Massachusetts actions be pursued in order to preserve the independence of Viacom’s board.”
Earlier on Friday, Viacom revealed that it would foot the bill for Dauman and George Abrams’ ongoing legal and public relations costs. This news came out right around the same time that Viacom publicly lowered earnings expectations for its fiscal third quarter.
Dauman and Abrams have asked the courts to overrule Sumner Redstone’s state of mental competency, which could invalidate their removals from the Sumner M. Redstone Trust, the National Amusements Board and the Viacom board. It could also, in theory, save Dauman’s job as CEO.
Viacom blamed the underperforming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and the company’s recent drama for dropping its earnings-per-share forecasts. The continuous managerial mudslinging has delayed what the company called a “significant” streaming deal.