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Skydance Media CEO David Ellison Makes Offer For Control Of Paramount Global

There’s buzz in the entertainment industry as Skydance, led by David Ellison, is reportedly in the initial stages of negotiations to purchase Shari Redstone’s stake in National Amusements. National Amusements, a family holding company, currently controls Paramount Global. While official comments from Skydance, National Amusements, and Paramount Global are yet to surface, insiders indicate that talks are underway.

The situation, as reported by Deadline back in December, seems to be in a holding pattern. Skydance’s primary interest lies in acquiring the studio, but Paramount Global is resistant to selling its flagship asset independently. Instead, Skydance is exploring the option of merging with Paramount, eyeing Shari Redstone’s stake in National Amusements as a more economical alternative to an outright purchase of the entire company. The strategy involves merging Skydance and Paramount while divesting other assets of the company.

Previously, Warner Bros. Discovery also considered the prospect of acquiring NAI/Paramount Global. CEO David Zaslav engaged in discussions with both Shari Redstone and Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish. However, this idea was met with skepticism on Wall Street due to financial challenges and struggles faced by Warner Bros. Discovery following the merger of Discovery and Warner Media.

Speculation about a potential deal with Paramount has heightened as the company grapples with financial issues, including streaming losses, the ongoing decline of linear television, and a weak advertising market. Paramount is gearing up for significant layoffs affecting hundreds of employees.

Backing David Ellison’s pursuit of Paramount is his father, billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who holds the majority stake in Skydance. Skydance has seen rapid growth as a studio, playing a crucial role in financing and producing Paramount films like the highly anticipated “Top Gun: Maverick,” along with TV series and an animation division with a multi-year deal with Netflix.

The approach through National Amusements has sparked controversy among some Paramount Global investors. While Shari Redstone stands to receive a premium for her NAI stake, concerns are raised about whether Paramount Global shareholders will enjoy similar benefits.

This report includes contributions from Anthony D’Alessandro.

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