Paramount and Skydance rekindle M&A talks

Weeks after earlier talks fizzled, Skydance Media, David Ellison's production company, has inked a preliminary deal to acquire National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of Paramount Global.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

July 3, 2024

2 Min Read
Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California
(Source: Graham Jepson/Alamy Stock Photo)

After a short separation, Paramount Global and Skydance Media are reportedly ready to tie the knot.

Weeks after earlier M&A talks were halted, Skydance, the production company headed by David Ellison, has struck a preliminary deal to acquire National Amusements, Paramount's controlling shareholder owned by Shari Redstone, according to multiple reports.

National Amusements, which holds about 77% of the voting shares of Paramount, has passed the latest deal to a special committee for review, The Wall Street Journal reported. The full financial terms of the agreement are still unknown, but Skydance would pay about $1.75 billion for National Amusements, the pub said, adding that National Amusements isn't requiring the Paramount Global agreement to be approved by a majority of non-Redstone shareholders.

But nothing's set in stone, as both sides have agreed to a 45-day "go-shop period" that will enable other parties to make a bid. Adding to the M&A drama, The New York Times reported Monday that Barry Diller, a former Paramount Pictures exec, has stepped up to explore a bid for Paramount Global. IAC, the Diller-run company that operates a large portfolio of digital brands and services, has signed nondisclosure agreements with National Amusements, the Times added. Former media mogul Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Bain Capital have also taken interest in nabbing National Amusements.

Meanwhile, Paramount Global, currently run by a trio of co-CEOs following the recent ousting of former CEO Bob Bakish, has hired bankers to help the company explore a potential sale of assets to help the company pay down debt.

Among those possible options, the company has held talks with other media and entertainment companies about ways to merge with its money-losing Paramount+ streaming service, with Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly among the interested parties. Paramount is also exploring a sale of the BET Network for about $1.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Shares in Paramount Global, the company behind the Paramount+ streaming service, Paramount Pictures and networks such as CBS, BET, MTV and Nickelodeon, jumped $1.03 (9.61%) in Wednesday morning trading.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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