Sumner Redstone Built Media Empire and Long Reigned Over It

Sumner M. Redstone, the billionaire entrepreneur who saw business as combat and his advancing years as no obstacle in building a media empire that encompassed CBS and Viacom, died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 97. Beginning with a modest chain of drive-in movie theaters, Redstone negotiated, sued and otherwise fought to amass holdings that over time included CBS, the Paramount film and television studios, the publisher Simon & Schuster, the video retail giant Blockbuster and a host of cable channels, including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. At their peak, the businesses were worth more than $80 billion. Toward the end of his life, he controlled about 80 percent of the voting stock in Viacom and CBS, presiding over both through National Amusements. And almost to the end, his grip was tight and his enthusiasm undiminished.

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