Moonves vs. Redstone: A pivotal week for CBS

The future of CBS, one of America's beloved television brands, may be decided this week.CBS Corporation, led b...

Posted: May 17, 2018 5:29 AM
Updated: May 17, 2018 5:29 AM

The future of CBS, one of America's beloved television brands, may be decided this week.

CBS Corporation, led by CEO Leslie Moonves, is seeking a temporary restraining order against its controlling shareholder National Amusements.

The battle is pitting Moonves against National Amusements president Shari Redstone, who wants CBS and sister company Viacom to consider merging.

Arguments were heard in Delaware Chancery Court on Wednesday afternoon.

The judge granted the temporary restraining order and said he would issue a ruling on Thursday.

A few minutes later, Moonves stepped on stage at the CBS network's annual "upfront" presentation for advertisers.

He received a standing ovation from the advertising executives and CBS insiders in attendance.

"So... how's your week been?" Moonves joked.

Then he began to pitch the network's new and returning TV shows.

The corporate drama is playing out during one of the CBS network's busiest weeks of the year.

After all the partying with advertisers on Wednesday evening, CBS is planning to hold a special board meeting on Thursday afternoon. The intent is to vote on a dividend that would cut Redstone's voting stake in the company from approximately 80% to 17%.

If the vote is successful, Redstone would lose some of her power over CBS and Moonves would gain more autonomy. CBS says this would "enable the company to operate as an independent, non-controlled company and more fully evaluate strategic alternative," like a sale to a content-hungry tech company.

But if Redstone prevails through the courts or some other means, Moonves could be booted from the company he has led for decades.

Related: CBS sues Shari Redstone, its controlling shareholder

Moonves has a sterling reputation in the entertainment industry and on Wall Street. He has been at odds with Redstone, and the independent board members of CBS are siding with him.

Five board members filed suit for a temporary restraining order on Monday morning. CBS said the suit was designed to stop Redstone "from interfering" in Thursday's vote.

"The Special Committee members, all independent directors of the Company, unanimously believe that the CBS Board has a fiduciary duty to act now to protect all stockholders and prevent Ms. Redstone from further breaches of her fiduciary duties," the CBS suit stated.

National Amusements (NAI) responded in a brief to the court on Wednesday morning.

"Plaintiffs suggest that NAI intends to force such a merger by removing and replacing the CBS independent directors. There is no truth to that," lawyers for National Amusements wrote. "NAI does not have, and has never had, any intention of replacing the CBS Board or taking other action to force a merger."

National Amusements asserted that the CBS board members are attempting "an unprecedented usurpation of a controlling stockholder's voting power."

Later in the day on Wednesday, NAI moved to prevent CBS from cutting Redstone's voting stake by changing the CBS bylaws. The amendment requires board actions, like the one in question, to be approved by a supermajority of the CBS board of directors.

"NAI believes the irresponsible action taken by CBS and its special committee put in motion a chain of events that poses significant risk to CBS," the company said in a statement.

Now the judge's protective order is in effect. The judge is expected to rule before the start of the CBS board meeting on Thursday.

-- CNN's Jill Disis contributed reporting.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events