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A large sign and logo greets visitors to CBS's Television Studios. Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

CBS’ board has voted to dilute the voting power of its majority owner, National Amusements Inc. (NAI), and it’s majority stakeholder, Shari Redstone, by over 60%, limiting her ability to replace the company's board.

Why it matters: The move is mostly symbolic, because nothing can actually go into effect until a Delaware judge reviews the merits of CBS’ lawsuit against NAI, which attempts to remove Redstone’s control and dilute her shares.

The court dealt a blow to CBS Thursday by voting in favor of Redstone, not granting CBS a restraining order against her.

The issue: Whether CBS will merge with Viacom, a cable company also majority owners by NAI and formerly combined with CBS.

  • Sources tell Axios CBS would rather merge with a company that’s better positioned in the market to distribute digital content, like a tech or telecom company, than a cable company whose many channels would make it harder to negotiate with cable companies for retransmission fees.
  • In court documents revealed Monday, CBS said Redstone told a company (sources say is likely Verizon) that CBS is not for sale.

The bigger picture: It’s the latest step in a week-long feud between CBS and is parent company of over 20 years for independence so that it can avoid a merger with Viacom, which is owned by the same parent company.

What they're saying: In a statement, NAI says “it has no intention of forcing a merger that is not supported by both CBS and Viacom.”

  • “Today’s board vote, while couched as an effort to prevent such a transaction, was pure pretext.  CBS management and the special committee cannot wish away the reality that CBS has a controlling shareholder.  NAI yesterday exercised its legal right to amend the company’s bylaws to require a supermajority vote on certain board actions with respect to dividends, effective immediately.  In light of the Board’s action today, that action was plainly necessary, and it is valid.” 

Go deeper

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

6 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.