The son of Sumner Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., is suing his father over what he says is a campaign to cut him out of family business interests.
Brent Redstone, who is 55, filed the lawsuit last week against National Amusements Inc., a privately held company that owns 71 percent of the voting stock of CBS and Viacom as well as more than 1,400 theaters in the United States and overseas.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, where the company is registered, Redstone claimed that his father and other directors of National Amusements were trying to “freeze” him out of the company’s affairs.
Brent Redstone owns 1/6 of the company, his sister Shari owns 1/6 and their father Sumner owns the remaining 2/3 stake. The lawsuit places the fair market value of the company at $8 billion.
The lawsuit also accuses the elder Redstone of favoritism and self-dealing, and wants the company to be dissolved and the proceeds distributed to the shareholders.
Brent Redstone has previously had active roles at Viacom, but not any more. Meanwhile his sister Shari, who is 51, was named vice chairman of Viacom last year, before it split up into CBS and the “new” Viacom. She still holds those positions at both companies and is widely seen as the successor to her father, who is 82.
National Amusements issued a statement calling the lawsuit “meritless” and its allegations “completely unfounded.” It also said it was “unfortunate that Brent Redstone is abusing the court system in an attempt to extract a financial settlement in a family dispute.”
Both Shari and Sumner Redstone, through a representative, declined to comment. A lawyer for Brent Redstone, Mark Wawro, declined to discuss specifics of the case.