ViacomCBS owner Sumner Redstone dies

Sumner Redstone, the former owner of ViacomCBS, has died, aged 97.

Redstone, who took control of Viacom in 1987 then added Paramount in 1994, died on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement from ViacomCBS owners National Amusements, which is owned by the Redstone family.

His daughter and ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone  said: “My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy. Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”

Redstone is credited with helping save cinema by developing the multiplex model in the 1960s, before moving into the world of TV, film and publishing.

Chief executive Bob Bakish described Redstone as “a brilliant visionary, operator and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theatre company into a global media portfolio”.

Amazon donates £1.5m to TV and Film Charity

Amazon has adonated £1.5 million to the TV and Film Charity’s Covid-19 Response Fund.

The US-based technology giant said it was offering ”support to the talented freelancers from the UK’s creative community who have been directly affected by the closure of theatres and halt in TV and film production”.

The fund, which was set up in partnership with the BFI, is aiming to raise £3.2 million in support of out-of-work freelancers who have been struggling during the pandemic, which caused most productions to shut down.

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film And TV Charity, added: “We’re incredibly grateful to Amazon for demonstrating such huge support for people working in television and film at this most difficult time for the industry. This fantastic donation to the Film and TV Charity will kick-start a new fund to support the diverse talent in our industry through the recovery process.”

Vivendi aims to strike truce with Mediaset

Vivendi is looking to hold talks with Mediaset with the aim of ending the long-running dispute between the Italian media company and its French shareholder.

According to Reuters, executives at the French company have written to Mediaset’s board members, asking them to come up with a proposal to end the feud between the two, which began over plans to merge Mediaset’s assets into one Amsterdam-based holding company, MediaForEurope.

If a deal is agreed, it could bring an end to a battle that has spanned several years and resulted in multiple lawsuits, paving the way for a major overhaul at Mediaset.

Liberty Global sees the Sunrise with latest acquisition

Media giant Liberty Global has agreed a $7.4 billion deal to buy Swiss telecoms operator Sunrise Communications.

With the acquisition, cable giant Liberty aims to create a strong competitor for incumbent operator Swisscom. The move follows a failed bid by Sunrise to buy Liberty’s Swiss operations last year.

Together, the two companies will reach 1.3 million TV subscribers, reflecting approximately 30 per cent market share, according to Liberty Global.

It is the latest in a long line of moves in Europe for Liberty, which included the merger of its Dutch operations with Vodafone, and ongoing plans to merger its UK business Virgin Media with Telefonica’s O2.