The agreement would sidestep a potentially embarrassing trial over claims the Viacom chairman emeritus is mentally incompetent
Months of drama over media mogul Sumner Redstone’s personal affairs may be near their end — but not quite yet.
Lawyers for Redstone have reached a preliminary deal to settle a suit by his former girlfriend claiming that the 92-year-old is mentally incompetent, Reuters reported, citing a source close to the situation.
The wire service said the settlement would install a local, neutral third party to oversee Redstone’s day-to-day, but no deal has yet been signed, an individual familiar with the matter told TheWrap. Even when an agreement is signed, it will need to be approved by a judge, the person said.
The case was ignited when Manuela Herzer, Redstone’s former companion and caregiver, sued to be reinstated as the steward of his care. As the situation unfolded, it created a distracting sideshow while Redstone morphed his role atop entertainment giants Viacom and CBS, and it embroiled Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman as he ascended to chairman of the beleaguered television and film giant.
Herzer’s suit claimed that Redstone is unable to follow conversations and sign his own name. Redstone’s lawyers rejected her case as an attempt to insinuate herself in his estate after she was removed in October. Dauman took the reins as Redstone’s “health-care agent” in October when Herzer was removed.
In the midst of the suit, which exposed embarrassing claims about personal matters like Redstone’s sexual appetite, Redstone stepped down as chairman of both Viacom and CBS. He remains the controlling shareholder of both, thanks to supervoting shares that give him roughly 80 percent control over the companies.