Viacom's Dauman Has Until September to Share Paramount Plans

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Viacom’s profits have been falling as ratings have declined amid the rise of streaming competitors and Paramount Pictures’ struggles at the box office. ENLARGE
Viacom’s profits have been falling as ratings have declined amid the rise of streaming competitors and Paramount Pictures’ struggles at the box office. Photo: Associated Press

Viacom Inc. VIA -0.32 % Chairman Philippe Dauman, who last week was ousted as chief executive, will have less than a month to update the board on a plan to sell a minority stake in Paramount Pictures, the company said Tuesday.

New details were offered in a regulatory filing from Viacom, days after it reached a settlement to end its drawn-out power struggle with National Amusements Inc., through which Sumner Redstone controls an 80% voting stake in the media giant. Viacom’s profits have been falling as ratings have declined amid the rise of streaming competitors and Paramount’s struggles at the box office.

As part of the settlement, Mr. Dauman will have a chance to present the board with plans to sell a stake in Paramount. He has until Sept. 7 to provide the board an update, such as identifying any potential investors and the status of those discussions. The board would provide feedback and Mr. Dauman could submit a final proposal for the board to consider.

Also in the filing, the company said its annual shareholder meeting would be moved up to no later than Feb. 3 from its usual spring timing. Six independent directors would have their terms expire at the meeting, at which point National Amusements would pick three to stay and three to depart. George S. Abrams, a longtime Viacom director, will also be removed from the board.

Viacom’s Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley confirmed on Friday in a memo to employees that he would become interim president and CEO through September, when Viacom’s fiscal year ends. Mr. Dooley said he and the board will have made a decision on succession plans by then. Mr. Dauman is slated to receive an exit package valued at about $72 million and will remain as nonexecutive chairman until Sept. 13.

Under terms of the settlement, the two sides will also cease litigation over control of Viacom and National Amusements. Mr. Dooley confirmed five directors nominated by National Amusements will join Viacom’s board. Those directors include Thomas May, chairman of Eversource Energy, who is slated to be named chairman after Mr. Dauman leaves that role.

What the settlement appears unlikely to resolve, once and for all, is the status of the 93-year-old Mr. Redstone, whose mental competency has been a matter of debate throughout the ordeal.

Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson@wsj.com



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