Sumner Redstone, the 86-year-old head of family-owned National Amusements, has triumphed in the latest Redstone family feud to end up in the courtroom.
Michael Redstone, Sumner's nephew, claimed he was owed millions of dollars by the family business after a share sale in 1984. However, after a trial which saw Sumner, Michael and various other family members testify, the Massachusetts Superior Court ruled against Michael and in favour of Sumner and his cinema and broadcasting company.
Michael sold his shares in the US-based National Amusements, left to him by his grandfather and company founder Michael (Mickey) Redstone, back to the company in 1984 for $15 million. He later claimed an oral trust was created that entitled him to additional shares he never received.
The trial was an attempt to determine whether an oral trust was ever created and if so how much Michael was entitled to. "I conclude that the plaintiffs have not met their burden of proving that Mickey created oral trusts in 1959 for the benefit of Ruth Ann (Michael's deceased sister) and Michael," said Judge Margaret Hinkle in her decision.
This is the latest in a series of court cases and family feuds for second-generation Sumner Redstone as he attempts to remain in full control of the family business founded by his father. He has been divorced twice, in 2002 and 2008, and has had public feuds with his children Shari and Brent. Shari was set to takeover his position as company head until he retracted his endorsement of her in 2007, meaning she may now never lead the company.
In October National Amusements announced it was selling $945 million worth of stocks in Viacom and CBS in order to repay existing debts. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) Previous to the share sale the company, which is privately-owned by both Sumner and Shari, had been attempting to sell several theatres to reduce debt but a rise in Viacom and CBS share price allowed Redstone to raise money in a stock sale instead.
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