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David Ellison’s Skydance Media explores acquiring all of Paramount Global, sources say

Skydance Media, under the leadership of David Ellison, seems to be in the final stages of talks regarding the potential privatization of Paramount Global, according to insider sources. This follows Skydance’s collaborative efforts with private equity firms RedBird Capital Partners and KKR & Co. to explore the acquisition of National Amusements, owned by Shari Redstone, which currently controls a significant 77% of Paramount’s voting stock. The ongoing discussions indicate that a merger with Paramount could pave the way for a comprehensive privatization of the larger media entity.

In the midst of the entertainment industry’s shift towards streaming, Shari Redstone is reportedly contemplating selling Paramount Global. Despite the company’s historically profitable performance, it faces stiff competition from streaming giants such as Netflix, YouTube, Apple, and Amazon, which boast larger financial capacities for investing in sports and entertainment content.

While the outcome of the acquisition talks remains uncertain, Paramount’s market capitalization is currently valued at $8.2 billion, with an additional burden of around $15 billion in debt. Securing the necessary capital for the acquisition is a critical consideration, with potential involvement from private equity partners and Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and David Ellison’s father.

It has been clearly communicated by Skydance that they are not interested in a partial acquisition limited to National Amusements. Their preference is for gaining control of the entire Paramount, as a partial deal would not effectively address Paramount’s challenges as a publicly traded company. These challenges include managing the financial losses of the Paramount+ streaming service and overseeing the decline of linear cable assets such as MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.

In addition to Skydance, Warner Bros. Discovery has expressed preliminary interest in acquiring Paramount Global. If Shari Redstone chooses Skydance, it is speculated that her decision might be influenced by concerns that Warner Bros. Discovery could potentially lean towards merging with Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

It is essential to note that despite ongoing discussions, there has been no official statement from RedBird, Skydance, Paramount Global, or National Amusements regarding these potential developments. As this situation unfolds in the ever-evolving media and entertainment landscape, stay tuned for updates on this intriguing development.

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