Sumner Redstone has expressed his opposition to Viacom’s plan to sell a minority stake in Paramount Pictures to help revive the studio’s fortunes, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ reported Monday that Redstone had expressed his unhappiness with Viacom’s CEO Philippe Dauman plan to seek a strategic partner for the studio he acquired after a hard-fought takeover battle in 1994.
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According to WSJ, Dauman has said Paramount was seeking a minority partner that could help the studio with international expansion or on the digital front. He’s said he expects to close a deal by the end of June.
The Journal said that Dauman initially believed he received Redstone’s blessing for the sale.
WSJ said that Dauman initially believed he received Redstone’s blessing for the sale but that he has since told Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey that he is opposed to selling any interest in the studio.
The Journal also cites unnamed sources noting that Redstone did not raise the issue at a Viacom board meeting in February. “The process continues, ” a Viacom spokesman said late Monday.
Dauman’s move to seek a strategic investor in Paramount came after calls from investors, including Mario Gabelli, to bring new life into the studio by a sale to Alibaba or another Chinese conglom that is eager to invest in Hollywood.
Viacom told the Journal last month that more than three dozen prospective buyers have come forth since Dauman announced the sale plan on Feb. 23 and he reiterated his focus on partners who could aid the studio with international operations or digital technology.
Meanwhile Sumner Redstone’s lawyers now in the midst of working out a settlement agreement with former companion of Redstone, Manuela Herzer, who has challenged his mental capacity.