No financial Armageddon today for Sumner Redstone, who gets an indefinite reprieve on either paying — not gonna happen — or restructuring some $800 million in debt coming due for National Amusements. The total debt is about $1.6 billion. Redstone owns 80 percent of the company, which owns movie theaters and controls Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and CBS (NYSE: CBS). (Redstone is chairman of both media company boards.) The reason for the extension: National Amusements is gaining time to finesse a plan that’s already been presented to creditors, it’s current on payments and the deadline was more of a target than anything.
One reason the plan isn’t completely ready: the NY Times says Redstone’s daughter Shari opposes it. Shari Redstone is president of National Amusements; the plan includes selling off much of her movie theater operation. Her dissent could cost her representation on the Viacom and CBS boards — and her chance to succeed her father as head of those companies. She had been designated as chairwoman in the event of his death; despite his claim since then that each board should chose its own chairman, that appears to remain in effect unless he removes her from the boards. The two have been feuding for years despite the display of solidarity this fall when the National Amusements situation sparked a sell off of some Viacom and CBS shares.