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Media Mogul Turns in His ‘Trophy’

Lake’s Take: How Much Will Sumner Redstone Pay

Sumner Redstone with wife Paula Fortunato

By Steve Lake

It’s now official. Sumner Redstone, major shareholder in CBS and Viacom, and his second wife, Paula Fortunato, 40 years his junior, have filed divorce papers.

The five-year marriage was reported to be having troubles as early as 14 months ago. Redstone, 85, has had plenty of financial problems lately, and this divorce may be the least of it, thanks to a reportedly well-drafted pre-nup. Lots of media stocks have sucked wind in recent years, but Redstone’s have taken a particular beating since he split up Viacom and CBS in 2006. According to Fortune Magazine, the value of Redstone’s CBS and Viacom stakes have diminished from $5 billion to nearly $2 billion in just the past 5 months! The terms of the prenuptial agreement have not been released, but it reportedly will provide wife Paula, a former public school teacher, somewhere between $1 and $5 million. Whether you think she is just a gold-digger or he is a rich old man getting what he deserves, in my experience as a divorce lawyer, marriages often go south when a financial crisis hits. Is there a chance he’ll pay more than he legally has to under the agreement? My guess is that it is possible depending on various factors”

One. Does he want to move quickly in order to avoid any further media attention?

Two. Does he want her out of his house fast? Often a pre-nup doesn’t specify when a person has to move out, and she may be allowed to live there until the divorce is final, which could take a year or two if not settled.

Three. The guilt factor. He may still have a soft spot for her. Whatever the case, as college teams are fighting for their trophies this fall, old Sumner is turning his in.

Whatever the case, as college teams are busy fighting for their trophies this fall, old Sumner is turning his in.