Sumner Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., said his ownership in the two media companies will pass to a seven-member trust after he dies.
Redstone, 91, also said directors of CBS and Viacom will decide who succeeds him as chairman of those two companies, according to an e-mailed statement Thursday from his publicist, Sard Verbinnen & Co. The New York Post reported earlier that his daughter, Shari Redstone, will become chairman of both CBS and Viacom when her father dies.
“Despite press reports to the contrary, such decisions have not yet been made,” Redstone said in the e-mail.
Redstone’s heirs won’t have to sell CBS or Viacom stock to pay estate taxes, Leah Bishop, his attorney, said Thursday by telephone. CBS and its former sister company, Viacom, have been the subject of growing speculation because of the frail condition of Redstone, who is seldom seen in public, and questions about who will control the companies after he dies.
“I can tell you that careful planning has been done so that estate taxes at Sumner’s death will not require a forced sale of the stock,” Bishop said. “I cannot give you any other information about his estate plan. It’s private.”
Redstone controls about 80 percent of the voting stock of Viacom and CBS through his closely held family company National Amusements Inc.
Control of National Amusements will eventually pass to the trust whose members will include his daughter, Shari, 61, who owns 20 percent of the company, and her son Tyler Korff, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified.
Members of the trust also include Viacom President Philippe Dauman, CBS board member David Andelman, Viacom director George Abrams and others, according an October 2014 CBS filing.