No decision on Paramount sale with Redstone reportedly hesitant

Paramount Studios Water Tower


Uncertainty still surrounds the fate of Paramount following Monday’s reports that the media company’s special committee of directors had recommended a revised offer from David Ellison’s Skydance Media.

According to Reuters, citing unnamed sources, chair Shari Redstone is less than happy with the terms of the revised offer, which would see Skydance reduce its initial US$2.5 billion bid for Redstone’s National Amusements in favour of more cash for Paramount’s other shareholders.

According to Reuters, Redstone was less than satisfied with the terms of the revised bid, which reduced the value of the merger to US$4.75 billion from the earlier US$5 billion.

Redstone may be tempted by alternative bidders including a late entry from Hollywood producer Steven Paul, who has reportedly proposed a US$3 billion bid for National Amusements.

The Financial Times meanwhile reported that Redstone has been “wavering” over the Skydance deal, citing an unnamed source.

Redstone did not comment on the acquisition proposal at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, instead expressing her confidence in the management team that took over following the abrupt departure of CEO Bob Bakish in April.

JV or partnership for Paramount+

The triumvirate of executives (known as the Office of the CEO) – CBS chief George Cheeks, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon boss Brian Robbins and Showtime and MTV head Chris McCarthy – outlined their plans to cut US$500 million annually in costs and explore plans to turn loss-making streamer Paramount+ into a joint venture at the meeting.

With regard to the latter, McCarthy said the company was “working on exploring options with both SVOD players and the leading technology platforms with the goal of forming a joint venture or a long-term strategic partnership”.

He said this would be “a deep and expansive relationship” to reduce churn and expenses, that the company had seen “a great deal of inbound interest” and that it was “aggressively exploring all options”.

Redstone meanwhile said the plan “would allow us to service our most important goal – driving value for all of our shareholders”.

Redstone’s National Amusements holds around 10% of Paramount’s stock but 77% of its voting shares. The revised Skydance proposal to acquire Paramount would see the production outfit acquire National Amusements first, before injecting cash into Paramount itself, which would then acquire Skydance, according to media reports.

The reports, which emerged over the weekend, had suggested that Skydance’s revised offer would see non-voting shareholders receive US$15 a share, a 26% premium on the company’s share price on Friday.

Read Next