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US mogul Redstone ousts Viacom chief


New York / AFP

Media mogul Sumner Redstone has ousted the head of Viacom from a trust with the power to take over his business interests, putting his daughter in position to control his $40 bn empire, a source close to the matter told AFP.
Redstone, 92, is the controlling shareholder of Viacom and CBS whose failing health has set off a power struggle between his family and associates.
Philippe Dauman, chairman and CEO of MTV and Paramount Pictures parent company Viacom, received word mid-week that he would be removed as a member of the National Amusements Inc. Trust, the source said, confirming news reports.
George Abrams, a member of the Viacom board who is close to Dauman, was also removed from the trust, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Redstone’s lawyer Michael Tu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The seven-member trust is meant to manage Redstone’s empire if he dies or is declared incompetent, and would have enormous power and influence over the future of Viacom and CBS.
Dauman and Abrams were also removed from the board of National Amusements, a movie company through which Redstone owns 80 percent voting stake in CBS and Viacom.
The latest developments — made official on Friday — are seen as a victory for Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone’s daughter who is a member of the trust and vice president of both the CBS Board of Directors and Viacom.
She had openly opposed Dauman’s appointment as chief of Viacom after her father stepped down.
Long estranged from her father, she recently said they have reconciled.
After the exits of Dauman and Abrams, Shari Redstone may be counting on support from remaining trust members, who include her son Tyler Korff and others with links to the family. Redstone is free to change or replace the members of his trust.

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