Media mogul Shari Redstone and other Viacom Inc directors were accused by a pension fund of selling out the entertainment company’s shareholders by ramming through an $11.7 billion merger with CBS Corp.
Redstone, who also is CBS’s controlling shareholder, and her colleagues on Viacom’s board “expropriated potentially billions of dollars from Viacom’s minority stockholders” by agreeing to a deal that was unfavourable to investors, lawyers for the fund said in a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court that was unsealed.
The merger was a long-sought reunion of CBS and Viacom — part of the same company until 2006 — engineered by Redstone over vehement opposition from now-former CBS executives.
The combination, which closed earlier this month, with unanimous approval from special board committees of CBS and Viacom, re-joined the US’s most-watched TV network with the parent of Paramount Pictures and cable channels such as MTV and Nickelodeon. The combined company trades as ViacomCBS Inc.
In the complaint, the Employees’ Retirement System of the City of Kansas City, Missouri Trust, seeks damages rather than a court order unwinding the merger.