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Blockbuster: Losing the plot

Monday, November 3, 2014

Category: Business

(Ongoing live-blogging my new book in progress.) When the billionaire entertainment mogul, Sumner Redstone, hung up the phone in Bungalow 8 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he was worried and he was pissed. Pissed, because a CEO he desperately wanted to recruit had turned down an invitation to come to talk to him; worried, because, in that month of May of 1997, the stock of Viacom, the giant entertainment conglomerate he had built up from a chain of drive-in theaters, was tanking. From a high of $63 a share, it had tumbled to less than $26 and everyone on Wall Street was blaming him. Blaming him for the performance of just one company in his empire.

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