Paramount, Skydance Make Progress on Potential Acquisition

David Ellison’s media company will infuse $4.5 billion into the studio should deal be completed

Skydance Media CEO David Ellison and National Amusements President Shari Redstone
Skydance Media CEO David Ellison and National Amusements President Shari Redstone (Getty Images / Illustration by TheWrap)

Paramount and Skydance are inching closer towards a potential merger that would see David Ellison’s media company buy out Paramount’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone.

According to individuals with knowledge of the talks who spoke to TheWrap, Skydance has agreed as part of a potential merger deal to infuse between $4.5 and $5 billion of fresh capital into Paramount, $2 billion of which would be used to buy Redstone’s shares and to settle the company’s debts. Ellison would become CEO of Paramount, replacing current CEO Bob Bakish, with former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell serving as president.

One media executive who isn’t said to be considered for a spot at the merged company is former NBC and CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who was previously reported to be considered for a position that would have marked his return to media since resigning from CNN in 2022.

Representatives for Paramount declined to comment.

Skydance’s chief creative officer Dana Goldberg and president Jesse Sisgold are also expected to have major roles in the combined company, which would potentially consolidate Paramount’s TV networks, including CBS, BET, Nickelodeon and other cable channels, under a central team, sources said.

These terms have been negotiated under an exclusivity period that is currently set to expire in May.

Skydance’s bid for Paramount has received significant pushback from shareholders, who feel that the company’s acquisition offer gives Redstone a significant share of the profit through the purchase of her shares while diluting the value of the rest of the company’s shares.

A competing offer was made to Paramount by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which Redstone eschewed in favor of beginning exclusive talks with Skydance. Sony Pictures is reportedly considering making a new joint bid with Apollo, but if they do, it will not be until after the exclusivity period ends.

News of the negotiations was first reported by CNBC.


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