CBS, Viacom had agreed on price for deal before lawsuit, sources say

CBS Sues Controlling Shareholder National Amusements Accuses Shari Redstone Of Undermining Board

CBS and a special committee of its board of directors on May 14 sued controlling owner National Amusements.

National Amusements controls a similar share of the vote at Viacom.

"Ms. Redstone interfered with the CBS Board nomination process and installed on the Board the Redstones" personal lawyer, who has sought to implement her directives, ' states one.

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"Ms. Redstone has acted to undermine the management team, including, without board authority, talking to potential CEO replacements, deriding the chief operating officer and threatening to change the board", the complaint said. "These escalating attacks make it hard for management to perform its duties and threatens continuity of management", the filing states.

CBS and Viacom had reached a deal in price for a merger of the two, according to sources familiar with the situation. During the course of the special committee's negotiations regarding a possible merger, the suit alleges that Ms. Redstone refused to agree to typical public company governance or submit any potential transaction to a vote of all of the unaffiliated public stockholders of CBS.

"The Special Committee has taken this step because it believes it is in the best interests of all CBS stockholders, is necessary to protect stockholders" interests and would unlock significant stockholder value'.

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Shares of CBS were up more than 3 percent in morning trade on May 14 while Viacom shares declined almost 7 percent. "This loss of market value has occurred despite management consistently delivering excellent results".

CBS claims National Amusements is seeking to prevent it from interfering with a special meeting of the CBS Board of Directors - where it wants to issue a special dividend of common stock, which would dilute National Amusements' voting interest to 17% from 79%. "Judges typically are sympathetic to applications for temporary restraining orders when there is a matter of great seriousness that might be upset if this injunction isn't put in place".

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