Multiple sources have confirmed The New Yorker is about to publish an investigation of CBS Corporation and its CEO Leslie Moonves sending the company's stock down more than 7 percent at midday Friday.
He would be among the biggest names to face sexual misconduct allegations that have surfaced in the wake of the New Yorker article that revealed widespread claims of abuse against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
CBS declined to comment. Shari Redstone is a major shareholder of both media companies, and has been seeking to combine them.
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"While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members", CBS said. At the time of publishing, Moonves has not commented on the allegations; we will update when he issues a statement. The CBS board of directors responded, even before the story's publication, that it would mount an investigation into the allegations.
"The timing of this report comes in the midst of the Company's very public legal dispute", the statement from the directors continued.
Combining CBS, which owns cable networks including Showtime as well as the CBS TV Network and CBS TV Studios, with Viacom, whose businesses include Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, would have more negotiating leverage with cable and satellite companies, analysts said. He joined CBS in 1995, working his way up to president in 1998 and chairman in 2003, the year it became America's most watched network.
"Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners", the statement said. Subsequent reporting raised questions about the response to those allegations by managers at CBS.