CBS' board of directors is near completion of a settlement that would both end its litigation with its controlling shareholder National Amusements — and sever ties with long time CEO Leslie Moonves, according to people familiar with the situation.
The talks are described as fluid, but the parties hope to complete a settlement prior to the start of trading on Monday morning. The settlement talks are reaching their conclusion as new charges of sexual harassment against Moonves were detailed in a New Yorker article released Sunday morning.
Last week CNBC reported that Moonves had been negotiating an exit from CBS that would entitle him to roughly $100 million in severance. Sources now indicate that Moonves would exit the company without any additional compensation, pending the results of an investigation into charges of sexual misconduct detailed in two separate New Yorker articles, as well as any other findings of the investigators employed by CBS's board.
In a statement released to CNBC, CBS said it took the allegations against Moonves "very seriously. Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing."
As CNBC previously reported, current COO of CBS Joe Ianniello is expected to take over as CEO on an interim basis. The settlement with CBS controlling shareholder National Amusements would end the litigation between the two parties, result in an expanded and refreshed board of directors at CBS, and prevent NAI from initiating a combination with Viacom for a period of 18 months.
It would not abridge NAI's rights to vote its control position on any other transaction undertaken by CBS, sources said. While in all negotiations of such complexity there is a possibility they will not reach fruition, the parties were focused on reaching an agreement prior to end of day Sunday.
Correction: The correct spelling of the name of CBS's COO is Joe Ianniello.