I told you last week the stock market plunge meant it was panic time in Big Media executive offices. Now it’s known what the octogenarian Redstone was doing on the phone while dejectedly staring at the saltwater fish tanks in his office. The heavily leveraged executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS was caught off guard when, at first, he thought he had to sell $400 million in shares in those companies on the day their share prices tanked big-time (along with the rest of the stock market) because they were used to back a $1.6 billion loan to expand his family’s movie-theater chain, National Amusements. But over the weekend Redstone negotiated a better payback arrangement. So today his people disclosed the conclusion of the sale of “only” $233 million in Viacom Inc. (7 million non-voting shares) and CBS Corp (17 million non-voting shares). National Amusements holds Redstone’s controlling interest in Viacom and CBS. and is the vehicle for his control over both companies. National Amusements now owns 46.8 million of Viacom’s voting shares and roughly 16.4 million non-voting shares. It owns 46.8 million of CBS’ voting shares and about 22.8 million non-voting shares. Viacom stock has fallen about 49% in the past year, while CBS is down around 71%. But shares rallied dramatically by end of trading today.
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