Viacom fight heats up as CEO, 4 others kicked off board

LOS ANGELES - Sumner Redstone's family theater company says it has replaced five directors from Viacom's (VIAB) 11-member board, including CEO Philippe Dauman.

Redstone controls Viacom and CBS through the theater company, called National Amusements (CBSNews.com is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)

It's the latest move to reassert control even as lawyers battle over whether Redstone, 93, is mentally competent to run the multibillion-dollar media companies Viacom and CBS.

The Viacom directors removed from the board are George S. Abrams, Philippe P. Dauman, Blythe J. McGarvie, Frederic V. Salerno and William Schwartz, National Amusements disclosed in a news release.

Salerno, the lead independent director who was among those ousted, said in a statement the move was "brazen and demonstrably invalid." He pinned it on Redstone's daughter, Shari. Salerno contends she is manipulating her father in a bid to control his empire upon his death.

"The newly elected directors have deep experience in corporate governance of public companies and will provide valuable expertise to Viacom in the areas of media, entertainment and technology," National Amusements said.

Viacom shares closed up 6.8 percent to $45.05 Thursday.