Paramount Would Remain Intact if Steven Paul-Led Investor Group Acquires National Amusements, Backer Says

“I think other people are going to break it. We don’t want to break it up,” Patrón cofounder John Paul DeJoria tells Fox Business

John Paul DeJoria, Steven Paul
John Paul DeJoria, Steven Paul

After scrapping a deal with David Ellison’s Skydance Media, Patrón cofounder John Paul DeJoria is confident that Paramount Global’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone will get behind his bid with “Baby Geniuses” producer Steven Paul for her holding company National Amusements.

“I think Shari wants us to take it. I think she does,” DeJoria told Fox Business’ “The Claman Countdown” on Tuesday. “My personal message to me from Steven Paul was, I think she’d like us, because she knows we will do good things with it, and not break it up. I think other people are going to break it. We don’t want to break it up.”

When asked about what he would do with control of the media conglomerate, DeJoria said he would focus on changing the company with “new and better ideas” rather than breaking up its assets.

“One would be to throw in a little bit more positive content that people would like to have their whole family watch TV, as opposed to just certain segments of what the adults are going to watch. Something more positive affects the whole family. I think America needs that in a good way,” he said. “And I’d look at all their various areas of distribution, how it could be improved, where more people benefit at the same time. The viewer on the other side of it benefits too when we grow all phases of the business on a global basis. I think I could add to that.”

DeJoria’s comments come after Paramount’s new co-CEOs Brian Robbins, George Cheeks and Chris McCarthy unveiled a long-term strategic plan earlier this month that includes streaming partnerships, divesting assets and $500 million in cost cuts.

At an employee town hall on Tuesday, the trio further revealed that work is already underway to transform the cost base of the company in areas such as legal and corporate marketing, though they declined to offer a specific timeline or how many employees would be impacted when asked during the event’s Q&A portion.

The executives also said they are advancing talks with potential partners to “significantly transform the scale and economics” of its streaming business in international markets and that they’ve hired bankers to assist with identifying possible assets that could be sold. Four individuals familiar with the matter previously told TheWrap that possible assets that could be put up for sale include Pluto TV, BET, VH1 and the Paramount lot, which would then be leased back for the studio’s use.

Paramount also recently announced it would increase the price of its Paramount+ with Showtime and Paramount+ Essential tiers as it looks to accelerate streaming profitability, which it is currently aiming to reach domestically in 2025.

“I would take a look at everything and see what made the most sense, and if I could reverse a little bit of that, you better believe I would. But I have got to really take a good look, an in-depth look, once we have control of the board here. And I think we have got a good shot of taking that over,” DeJoria argued. “My feeling is that we will have this done by August, so fingers crossed, we have got a lot of great people. Many of the big investors were with me at home in Austin just a few weeks ago that are just so excited to get this going. We have got a solid team there, and I think you’re going to see some great results.”

Bloomberg previously reported that Paul’s investor group made an offer that was more than the $2.25 billion offered by Skydance, but less than $3 billion. Additionally, former Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. is reportedly looking to offer between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for a separate bid for National Amusements that would be backed by Bain Capital.

Representatives for Paul and DeJoria did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment. Rockefeller Capital Management, which is advising Paul’s group; Waverly Capital, a venture capital firm where Bronfman serves as chairman and general partner; Bain Capital; and National Amusements all declined to comment on the bids.

Paramount, which reported a market capitalization of $7 billion as of Tuesday’s close, has seen its stock price fall 15.8% in the past month, 32% in the past six months, 29% year to date and 35% in the past year.

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