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Viacom's Sumner Redstone celebrates 90 with big bump in net worth

May 27, 2013|By Meg James
  • Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, celebrated his 90th birthday on May 27, 2013. This year the mogul enjoyed a bump in net worth.
Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, celebrated his 90th birthday on May… (Lawrence K. Ho )

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone celebrated his 90th birthday Monday.

Friends, family and business associates had planned a surprise Memorial Day birthday party in Los Angeles for the media mogul, even though Redstone has never been a big fan of birthdays -- or surprises.

Not to worry. Redstone has plenty of reasons to celebrate this year. Just last week, Viacom stock hit an all time high. Redstone also received an early birthday present from Viacom's board, of which he serves as chairman. The group voted to raise Viacom's quarterly cash dividend to 30 cents a share, up from the current 27.5 cents a share.

Redstone holds more than 40 million shares of the company's voting stock, so the additional 2.5 cents a share will provide him with some extra pocket change -- $3.7 million -- in the coming year.

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Over the course of a year, Viacom's 30 cents a share quarterly dividends will produce $48 million in cash for Redstone.

That comes on top of Redstone's executive compensation. Last year, Viacom paid Redstone $20.4 million in salary, bonus and stock benefits in his role as executive chairman, according to regulatory filings. (That amount does not include the more than $31 million in pay and benefits that Redstone received in 2012 in his role as chairman of CBS Corp.)

Redstone, at 90, remains one of the mostly handsomely compensated executives in corporate America.

Still, Redstone's most generous gift came from his greatest love of all -- the financial markets. During the last six months, Viacom's stock has soared to nearly $70 a share, up from about $49 a share in November.

Those gains amount to an $850-million increase in value for Redstone's shares. The tycoon's holdings in Viacom now are worth nearly $2.9 billion.

A Viacom spokesman on Monday noted that Viacom investors also have shared in the riches. The 2.5-cent quarterly dividend increase was worth about $49 million for the company's Class B common stock shareholders, spokesman Jeremy Zweig said.

And the share price increase since November represents slightly more than $10 billion in increased value for the common stockholders, Zweig said.

Stock in CBS Corp., which Redstone also controls, similarly has been on a tear. Redstone's holdings in CBS are worth about $2.2 billion.

Happy Birthday, Sumner.

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