Sumner Redstone, under pressure to restructure his family company's $1.6 billion in debt, said Thursday that "substantial progress" had been made in talks with banks.
"An agreement acceptable to all parties is now within reach," the 85-year-old Redstone said during a conference call to discuss Viacom Inc.'s quarterly earnings.
In October, Redstone got caught in the stock market downturn, triggering violation of debt covenants for the mogul's family company, which holds controlling stakes in Viacom -- owner of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures -- as well as in broadcasting behemoth CBS Corp.
Redstone's family company, National Amusements Inc., was forced to sell nonvoting shares in Viacom and CBS at record-low prices to come up with cash to satisfy bankers after it defaulted on bank loans. Since late last fall, directors of National Amusements -- including Redstone's daughter, Shari -- have been working with banks to restructure the company's debt.