If it wasn't clear by now that Shari Redstone won her long-running battle with former Viacom (VIAB) - Get Report CEO Philippe Dauman, or that she's always wanted to put the company back together with CBS (CBS) - Get Report , the composition of the committee selected to study the deal on behalf of Viacom makes that abundantly clear.
Five of the six Viacom directors selected to serve on a committee of non-company board members to consider a merger were proposed back in June when Shari and her ailing father, Sumner Redstone, 93, sought to oust Dauman and four directors loyal to him.
Though Dauman successfully went to court to block that maneuver, he was ultimately dismissed in August, albeit with a $72 million severance package.
As part of the settlement that ended litigation between the Redstones and Dauman, the five directors named in June were added to Viacom's board, expanding it to 15 (now 14) members. It's very likely that before the company holds its next annual meeting in early 2017 that the board will return to 10 members, with Dauman's loyalties sent packing.
On Friday, Viacom said in a statement that the committee of independent directors chosen to study a potential tie-up with CBS would include Thomas May and Nicole Seligman, who will act as co-chairs, along with Kenneth Lerer, Judith McHale, Ronald Nelson and Charles Phillips. Viacom said the board had hired Debevoise & Plimpton LLP as legal adviser and expects to retain an outside independent financial adviser.
Only Charles Phillips, a Viacom director since 2006, had served on the board before August.
The announcement of the independent committee came a day after the Redstones' holding company, National Amusements Inc., formally requested that Viacom and CBS study and even negotiate a merger. CBS has yet to announce the composition of its independent director committee to consider a merger with Viacom.