Viacom: Sumner Redstone to Step Down From Board

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of CBS Corp. and Viacom, arrives at the premiere of "The Guilt Trip" starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen in Los Angeles December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Viacom Inc. Chairman Emeritus Sumner Redstone will resign from the company's board following its annual meeting in February.

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After the meeting, set for Feb. 6, Mr. Redstone will continue to attend meetings in a nonvoting role, according to a company filing.

Shares rose 2.4% to $35.73 during morning trading, though they are still down 13% so far this year.

The announcement comes days after Mr. Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone ended their effort to merge Viacom and CBS Corp. Redstone family holding company National Amusements Inc. -- which has nearly 80% voting stakes in both media companies -- said it was "not the right time to merge the companies," a bet that the media giant could turn its fortunes around under the leadership of new Chief Executive Brian Bakish.

In the latest quarter, Viacom's profit plunged as it continued to grapple with an unforgiving media environment.

The mental capacity of Mr. Redstone has been at the center of a series of recent legal battles. Those fights have come amid a power struggle atop Viacom resulting in the ouster of former Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and the rising prominence of Ms. Redstone in the media empire. In May, a judge dismissed a case challenging Mr. Redstone's mental capacity.

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Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

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