CBS CEO Les Moonves could make up to $280 million if Shari Redstone fires him over embattled CBS-Viacom merger

  • CBS CEO Leslie Moonves could reportedly make up to $US280 million if he is fired over an embattled potential merger between CBS and Viacom, Bloomberg reported.
  • CNBC reported on Wednesday that Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, was “likely” to remove Moonves as the head of CBS if merger negotiations between CBS and Viacom fell through.
  • Moonves’ contract entitles him to $US150 million if he is fired before its expiration in 2021, Bloomberg reported.
  • But his payout figure could reportedly balloon to $US280 million when taking into account CBS’ stock and potential performance over the next few years.

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves could make up to $US280 million if Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom through her company National Amusements, fires him over the embattled potential merger between the two TV companies, according to a Bloomberg report.

CNBC reported on Wednesday that Redstone was “likely” to remove Moonves as the CEO of CBS if merger negotiations between CBS and Viacom fell through, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Moonves’ contract entitles him to $US150 million if he is fired before his contract expires in June 2021, Bloomberg reported. But his payout figure could reach up to $US280 million when taking into account CBS’ stock and potential performance over the next few years, according to Bloomberg.

CBS is expected to make a new offer for the purchase of Viacom, but the network’s bid is expected to be an insufficient price on Viacom’s side of the deal, CNBC reported Wednesday.

CBS originally made a “lowball offer” of about $US11.9 billion for Viacom (below market value), which was countered by Viacom with an offer of about $US14.7 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a recent profile of the embattled potential merger, THR reported that Viacom’s struggling assets like MTV and Nickelodeon have made a merger plan “repellent to Moonves.” CBS and Viacom were previously part of the same company from 2000 to 2006, under the ownership of National Amusements, before Viacom spun-off as a separate company in 2006.

Redstone is expected to not only replace Moonves but the entire CBS board if a merger isn’t reached between the two companies, according to CNBC. But Bloomberg’s report would suggest that Moonves’ massive payout could throw a kink into that plan.

In a statement to Business Insider on Wednesday, a CBS representative touted Moonves’ track record, which is well-regarded by shareholders and the industry. “The industry and the marketplace know Leslie Moonves’ record and we think it speaks for itself,” the CBS representative said.

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