Paramount ends merger saga after reaching ‘definitive’ Skydance agreement

Paramount ends merger saga after reaching ‘definitive’ Skydance agreement

Paramount Global and Skydance Media have agreed to merge and form New Paramount after months of talks.

It will be a two-step process where Skydance Media will first acquire National Amusements Inc, Paramount Global’s majority shareholder controlling 77% of its shares, before merging Skydance Media and Paramount Global.

Skydance Investor Group, made up of the Ellison Family and RedBird Capital partners, will invest more than $8bn in New Paramount.

Paramount’s TV division includes Channel 5 in the UK as well as the international brands MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, as well as the streaming service Paramount+.

New Paramount will have a new leadership team made up of Skydance Media’s David Ellison as chairman and CEO, and Jeff Shell as president.

Skydance Media plans to reposition Paramount to improve its profitability and enable more investment in faster-growing digital platforms, as well as “enhance and reinvigorate marquee Paramount and CBS brands”.

Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global and chair, president and CEO of National Amusements Inc, said of the agreement: “Given the changes in the industry, we want to fortify Paramount for the future while ensuring that content remains king.

“Our hope is that the Skydance transaction will enable Paramount’s continued success in this rapidly changing environment.

“As a longtime production partner to Paramount, Skydance knows Paramount well and has a clear strategic vision and the resources to take it to its next stage of growth. We believe in Paramount and we always will.”

Analysis: Redstone finally cedes control

After many twists and turns, the Paramount ownership question appears to have been finally settled, with Shari Redstone set to cede control of her family’s media empire to David Ellison (the son of Larry Ellison, the billionaire who cofounded Oracle).

Over the last six months, Paramount Global has been having merger and acquisition talks with multiple media and private equity companies, from Warner Bros Discovery to Sony and Apollo Global Management.

Paramount Global reportedly started merger talks with Skydance Media founder in December last year, entering an exclusive discussion window in April.

Ellison thought he had a deal just a few weeks ago, only for Redstone to change her mind at the last minute. Redstone discontinued talks with Skydance as the two companies had “not been able to reach mutually acceptable terms”.

They now appear to have resolved whatever differences they had.

Other players in contention for a merger had discussed the possibility of breaking up Paramount when it was acquired, including auctioning off properties like CBS, MTV and streaming service Paramount+.

Perhaps this proposition made Skydance Media look like a more attractive option.

Paramount Global and Skydance Media then “quietly” resumed talks in July, and today’s agreement to form “a next-generation media and technology leader” heavily focusses on enhancing Paramount’s premier content platform, technology and infrastructure, rather than selling off its linear networks and DTC streaming channels.

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