Billionaire Trophy Investments
The Electric Barbarellas
All-girl electronic pop groups usually aren’t an octogenarian's cup of tea. But Sumner Redstone isn’t most octogenarians.
The 89-year-old media tycoon, who serves as CEO of Viacom (VIA) and is a majority owner in CBS Corporation (CBS), was such a fan of the Electric Barbarellas -- described as “a cross between the Pussycat Dolls and Spice Girls, except raunchier and not as musically gifted” -- that he dreamt up a reality show chronicling their attempted rise to starlettdom and strong-armed MTV into green-lighting it. (The show ran for a single season last year.)
Sumner’s investment in the band, including a half million dollars just to fly the six members to various record label meetings, angered a number of Viacom insiders. His granting of company stock to frontwoman Heather Naylor, who later sold her shares for $157,000, also drew criticism for loosening Viacom’s strict option grants restrictions for his own personal interests.