Billionaire media tycoon, Sumner Redstone dies at 97

Viacom head and media business mogul, Sumner Redstone dies at 97
EJ
Emeh Joy

The American media tycoon, Sumner Redstone who took over his father's passion in the movie business and established it as an empire which includes MTV, Paramount Pictures and CBS has been announced dead at age 97.

ViacomCBS which he led for decades remembers him for his "unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company".

During his prime years in his career, Redstone was known for his family feuds as his aggressive corporate acquisitions.

He was once sued by his son to break up the business. Following the suit, he agreed on a significant settlement to give up his voting shares.

He united with his daughter, Shari after being estranged. She has this to say about him;

"My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know today but created an incredible family legacy.

"Through it all, we shared a great love for one another, and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I am so proud to be his daughter, and I will miss him always".

Sumner Redstone and his girlfriends, Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland at a gala in March 2013 honouring AI Gore

Redstone was born in Boston in 1923 and attended Havard University. During the Second World War, he worked with an elite US Army unit that cracked Japanese codes.

He joined his family cinema chain, National Amusements in 1954 and took the helm of leadership in 1967. He was in his 60s in 1987 when he purchased Viacom for $3.4bn (£2.6bn).

A few years later, he also acquired Paramount for over $10bn (£7.7bn) and further added CBS to the portfolio in 1999 in a deal valued at $37bn (£28bn).

Redstone speaking with interviewers often say, "content is king". Forbes magazine once estimated him to be worth $4.6bn (£3.5bn).

During his later years, arguments were made over his health and whether he was fit to run the company. A former girlfriend of his challenged his mental capability in a lawsuit filed in 2015, calling him a "living ghost". The suit was, however, thrown out subsequently.

In his last interview, Redstone was asked who might succeed him, and he said, "I will not discuss succession. You know why? I'm not going to die".

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