Joe Ianniello’s sweet deal just keeps getting sweeter.
Acting CBS Chief Executive Ianniello, who will become chairman and CEO of CBS once Viacom merges with CBS, will bank a hefty payout of $100 million when the deal closes, sources said.
That’s up from the $70 million he was already set to pocket in severance for not being named head of the newly combined company — despite staying on in his current job.
The added $30 million is due to the $10 million he’ll pocket for agreeing to extend his former contract — plus $20 million in stock of the new company, ViacomCBS, sources said.
A CBS spokesman declined to comment.
Ianniello’s fortunes are nothing short of miraculous. The exec, who served as the longtime No. 2 to disgraced former CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves, was only recently on thin ice with Shari Redstone, the heiress whose family owns a majority stake in Viacom and CBS through National Amusements Inc.
A court filing by National Amusements Inc. uncovered a trove of text messages showing Ianniello had been supporting Moonves’ battle to dilute Redstone’s voting control over CBS before Moonves was ousted in a flood of sexual misconduct allegations in late 2018.
“I will have your back to the end!” Ianniello messaged Moonves, referring to a vote to reduce Redstone’s control. Another time, the duo exchanged texts, quoting “The Godfather.”
“Mattresses tomorrow a.m.,” Moonves wrote to Ianniello, invoking Sonny Corleone’s description of going to war with a clan.
“We won’t forget the cannoli too,” Ianniello wrote back.
“And take the gun,” Moonves replied. “We need it.”
Ianniello has since turned a corner with Redstone, who backed the decision to ask him to stay on to run CBS. He will report to Bob Bakish, the CEO of Viacom, who will become CEO of the ViacomCBS when the deal closes in the coming weeks.