Viacom shareholders re-elect company's board, reject voting rights proposal
Mar 14, 2016 11:35 PM EDT
On Monday, a significant number of Viacom's independent shareholders voted to re-elect the media company's board of directors at an annual meeting in Miami. The company also rejected a proposal to end the company's dual-class structure, which gives more voting control to the owners of a different class of shares.
Reuters reported that Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman will have an extended time to improve the company's declining viewer ratings because of the support given to the directors and the rejection of the voting rights proposal. The result of the election was expected since 80 percent of Viacom Inc's Class A voting shares are owned by longtime head Sumner Redstone. Meanwhile, Viacom's more numerous Class B shares do not have any voting rights.
Over the past year, the media company's stock is down by about 40 percent amid rising Wall Street concerns of Viacom's cable networks' performance such as MTV, and the underperformance of Paramount Pictures. However, the stock has risen to more than 15 percent over the past month amid somewhat of a rebound from a recent low of $30.11.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the event which was held on Monday was Dauman's first annual meeting as executive chairman, although it wasn't webcast. Vice Chairman Shari Redstone, Sumner's daughter, also attended the annual meeting. Shari Redstone was reported to be the only board member who is against Dauman's ascension to the chair role.
Mark Herold, an investor from North Palm Beach, Florida, also questioned Dauman about serving as a health-care proxy for Sumner Redstone and at the same time Viacom's CEO. That would give Dauman the control to potentially make life and death decisions over his own boss, says Bloomberg.
The attendance of the annual meeting was sparse, with only about 30 individuals present. Sumner Redstone did not show up and her daughter did not speak at the meeting. One of the investors also expressed his concern regarding Dauman's appointment as Redstone's health care agent and said that it 'might be a conflict of interest.'