Shari Redstone, president of ViacomCBS, came out in force on Wednesday, announcing that the company about to be discussed for the next three hours “is not your father’s Viacom. And it is not that of my fathers either.
Redstone kicked off a streaming event months in the works before Paramount + launches on March 4, which the company hopes it can propel into the big streaming leagues in a very crowded area. She echoed her famous father that “content is king” and promised to meet consumers where and when they want.
It was one of Redstone’s first major appearances since Viacom and CBS merged in late 2019, for the second time. At the combined company’s first annual shareholder meeting last May, she spoke briefly, calling the undervalued stock and ViacomCBS “a global cross-platform content power.”
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Shares were at $ 19 at the time and plunged into a $ 10 pandemic before a massive surge as Wall Street sentiment slowly shifted under CEO Bob Bakish and streaming plans materialized. It has doubled since last fall, trading today at around $ 65.
Redstone, who has successfully run the National Amusements family movie channel for years, is counting heavily on the ultimate success of the Viacom-CBS merger. She lobbied aggressively for the regroupment as she took control of the businesses through the family holding NAI following the illness of her father Sumner Redstone, who died last August at age 97.
The merger has since been targeted by shareholders of both companies in two civil lawsuits currently pending in Delaware Chancery Court. Neither of the two prosecuting shareholders felt the merger process was fair, alleging that Shari Redstone installed allies on both boards and pressured them multiple times over several years to approve a deal that was not necessarily in the best interests of either company.