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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

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.