Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

In a new complaint filed Tuesday, National Amusements Inc. (NAI), CBS Corporation's parent company, now says that its vice chairwoman and CBS' majority stakeholder Shari Redstone advised Viacom’s special committee that NAI no longer supported a merger — prior to CBS' lawsuit against Redstone and NAI that attempted to strip Redstone of her voting power.

Why it matters: Today's statement solidifies what the media community has largely assumed for the past few weeks: the desire to merge CBS and Viacom is officially dead on both sides — not just from CBS' perspective.

The bigger picture: It's the latest installment in the years-long saga of the power struggle between longtime CBS Chairman Les Moonves and Redstone that's intensified over the past few weeks.

  • At the heart of the disagreement is whether or not Redstone was, as CBS alleges, trying to force CBS to merge with Viacom so that Redstone could retain control over the two companies. CBS says the merger isn't best for its shareholders and shocked the media community when it sued Redstone to strip her of majority share ownership so that she could not dismantle the CBS board.

What they're saying:

  • NAI: "NAI and Shari Redstone did not, and do not, intend to force a recombination of CBS and Viacom, whether by removing and replacing CBS directors or otherwise. In fact, prior to CBS’s action, Shari Redstone had already determined and advised a special committee of Viacom’s board that NAI no longer supported a merger."
  • CBS: “Today’s reactive complaint from NAI was not unexpected. The amended complaint filed last week by CBS and its Special Committee details the ways in which NAI misused its power to the detriment of CBS shareholders, and was submitted after careful deliberation by all involved. We continue to believe firmly in our position.”

Go Deeper: The Wall Street Journal has a good profile on the tension between Moonves and Redstone.

Go deeper

Grand jury indicts former officer who shot Breonna Taylor

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 23. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and shot her at least eight times, on three counts of wanton endangerment.

The big picture: Taylor's death helped ignite nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations this summer, as protesters demanded justice for her, George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by police. The outrage led to Hankison being fired and the passage of a city law that banned no-knock warrants — two rare consequences after police shootings of Black Americans.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!