The wife of media titan Sumner Redstone, chairman and CEO of Viacom, whose company is in a $37 billion deal to acquire CBS Inc., has filed for divorce and is seeking $3 billion, her attorney said today.
Phyllis Redstone, Sumner's wife of 52 years, filed for divorce in a Boston court, a Viacom spokesman said. The company issued a statement saying the suit was a personal matter that would have no effect on Viacom's proposed merger with CBS.
Phyllis Redstone previously filed for divorce in November 1993 in the midst of a high-stakes takeover battle Viacom was waging with home shopping network QVC for control of Paramount Pictures. She withdrew the suit three weeks later. Viacom acquired Paramount for about $10 billion.
Irving Helman, Phyllis Redstone's attorney, confirmed a New York Post front-page report today that she is seeking $3 billion. A CBS spokesman was not immediately available for comment. A Viacom spokesman declined comment beyond issuing a short statement.
"The Redstone family interests in Viacom's parent company, National Amusements Inc., are structured in such a way that the personal matters between Mr. and Mrs. Redstone will not affect the ownership, control or management of Viacom, nor will they affect the merger with CBS," the company said.
George Abrams, Sumner Redstone's longtime attorney, said in the Viacom statement that his client, who owns 67 percent of Viacom stock, will make no further comment about the suit, which has been sealed by the court.