James Cameron, Ari Emanuel Voice Support for Skydance’s Paramount Bid

The “Avatar” director believes it “could be a huge boon for this business” if David Ellison’s company buys the major studio

Two men with light-toned skin in separate photos. They are James Cameron and Ari Emanuel, Cameron seen on stage with a microphone speaking, while Emanuel smiles as he's interviewed in a crowd at a UFC event.
James Cameron and Ari Emanuel (Photos: Getty Images)

As the bidding war for Paramount labors on, two of Hollywood’s biggest power players, James Cameron and Ari Emanuel, have voiced their support for Skydance acquiring the major Hollywood studio as the best choice for the future of the entertainment business.

The director of “Avatar” and the CEO of mega-agency Endeavor both told The Financial Times that they believe the entertainment industry would be in a better place if Skydance cofounder/CEO David Ellison were the one to win the bidding war for Paramount, citing his years of experience in Hollywood since founding the media company in 2010.

“I love the Ellison idea,” said Cameron, who worked with the Skydance chief as a producer on “Terminator: Dark Fate.” “If he gets … to run Paramount creatively, it could be a huge boon for this business in these ailing times. David’s proven himself.”

“David has a real movie business [with] big franchises,” Emanuel said, calling Skydance “a natural acquirer” for Paramount. “Everybody is in business with him — Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Paramount and Disney all have a good relationship with David.” 

The comments from the pair come as the exclusive negotiating period between Skydance and Paramount lapsed without an extension, decreasing the chances that a deal could be reached between the two companies, though the two sides haven’t completely broken off talks.

Skydance has been in talks about a potential two-step deal that would see the company acquire Paramount through controlling shareholder Shari Redstone’s majority stake in National Amusements, which owns 77% of Paramount’s voting stock.

The bid from Skydance has seen significant pushback from minority shareholders in Paramount, who argued that the buyout of Redstone’s shares would leave them out of the profits of the merger and dilute the value of their shares. In response, Skydance offered to add a $3 billion cash injection and premium for non-voting class B shares.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures has stepped into the race by making a joint offer with private equity firm Apollo Global Management of $26 billion, all cash, for Paramount.

As Redstone and Paramount weigh their options, CEO Bob Bakish resigned from the company this past week, replaced in the interim by an executive committee comprised of CBS CEO/president George Cheeks, Paramount Media Networks CEO/president Chris McCarthy and Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon CEO/president Brian Robbins. The group is in the process of creating a long-term strategic plan.

Paramount’s film division under Robbins saw its best year at the box office in more than a decade in 2022 with $1.3 billion grossed in North America alone. But the company as a whole has made the majority of its profits for decades from TV networks like CBS, Nickelodeon and BET, a business model that is now in decline with streaming taking over over-the-top television.

“I don’t want to denigrate anybody, but I think [Paramount] needs a little bit of new energy. I think [Ellison] will bring that,” Emanuel said. “I think he’ll be an incredible additional partner to Shari in this situation.”

Comments

One response to “James Cameron, Ari Emanuel Voice Support for Skydance’s Paramount Bid”

  1. stephen Avatar

    🎬 James Cameron and Ari Emanuel throw their weight behind Skydance’s bid for Paramount, believing it could rejuvenate the entertainment industry. 🌟 With David Ellison’s track record, they see potential for big growth and exciting collaborations. 💼 #Hollywood #ParamountBid

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