Peter Chernin is leaving News Corp with the kind of severance package we may never see again, giving him a mix of commitment via a production deal and enough money to do what he wants — or doesn’t want — with the rest of his time. In addition to that deal and continuing to head the Malaria No More effort, sources close to Chernin say he intends to spend time doing something entrepreneurial — venture capital or private equity or maybe even start his own fund. Even in this depressed credit market, Chernin believes very strong management will drive credit and “he wants to play a role in it.”
What he won’t be doing: running Viacom (NYSE: VIA), despite pleas to the contrary from Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield. Good thing I wasn’t drinking tea when I read his latest blog post or, well, you get the picture. The headline alone would do it: Chernin to Viacom? Sounds Great, But Not All Wishes Come True but for me it was the frying pan-fire image — Chernin moving from Rupert Murdoch to Sumner Redstone? Turns out Greenfield doesn’t think current Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is accessible enough to investors. (His exact words were “extremely limited access.”) He also complains that Dauman and CFO Tom Dooley have “prevented investors/analysts any and all access to operating-level management” leaving Dauman and Dooley as the company’s only spokespeople. So where does Chernin come in? I’d say in a serious drug-induced trance but I know Greenfield better. We’ll just call it a pipe dream.
Greenfield: “While we have a hard time believing Peter Chernin … would ever consider working for someone like Sumner Redstone, not to mention he probably has a lengthy non-compete, we believe hiring Chernin would be the smartest move Mr. Redstone could make. Investors loath Viacom