Shares finished at $56.07. That’s about three dollars shy of their level at the end of July, when The New Yorker published its damning investigative story by Ronan Farrow detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by Moonves. Even though Wall Street views the CEO as difficult to replace, the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the company — as well as ongoing strife with controlling shareholder National Amusements — have cast a shadow.
CBS has hired two law firms to conduct a thorough investigation into the charges, as well as others pertaining to CBS News. Stakeholders in CBS and National Amusements, its controlling shareholder, have been in negotiations over their dueling lawsuits ahead of the scheduled October 3 start of the trial in a Delaware court. At the same time, the CBS board has been in discussions with the Moonves camp about a potential severance package, which would be payable only if the law firms determine that his actions merit his dismissal.
There hasn’t yet been a firm resolution to the unfolding saga but the week has seen steady progress in the negotiations, as Deadline reported yesterday. Estimates for how much Moonves could walk away with have varied but insiders have suggested the most likely figure is between $100 million and $125 million. (Given the current climate, any amount is likely to trigger outrage in some corners of Hollywood. Yesterday, TimesUp slammed the reports of him netting a nine-figure sum given the nature of the alleged offenses.
Viacom, which is also controlled by National Amusements, has not seen the same boost to its stock price that CBS has of late. Viacom shares dropped 1% today to $28.98, which is in the middle of their 52-week range.