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October 25, 2005
Sumner Redstone doesn't plan to relinquish power at Viacom, ever
His media company may be splitting in two, but that doesn't mean 82-year-old Sumner Redstone plans to take a more laissez-faire approach to overseeing the twin pillars of the new Viacom media empire. In an interview covered by the New York Daily News, Redstone reminded the media world that, "I never said I would take my hands off the wheel. I said I would share the wheel with the two companies' CEOs." In fact, Redstone also said that he plans to keep working "another 20 or 30 years." That would make Mr. Redstone, well, 102 years old. You'll have to pry his cold, clammy fingers off Viacom at that point.
That may not be good news for investors, who have already punished Viacom's stock this year and have grown disenchanted with Redstone's efforts to boost Viacom's stock price. Redstone is convinced, though, that splitting the company in two will unlock shareholder value and, quite possibly, assure his legacy in the world of conglomerate media.
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