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Paramount/Skydance Deal Officially Dead; Yet Another Bidder Emerges



As of a week ago, the months-long talks for Skydance Media to takeover Paramount Global seemed to be faltering at the finish line… and now they are over. The saga of the sale of the company that controls Star Trek continues and now another group has entered the arena.

It’s over for Skydance

The Skydance Media plan to takeover Paramount was a two-step process, beginning with buying out NAI, the holding company of Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global and owner of the majority of voting stock. Today NAI confirmed the reports that talks had ended in a statement (via Deadline), saying the company was “not been able to reach mutually acceptable terms regarding the potential transaction with Skydance Media for the acquisition of a controlling stake in NAI.”

It’s not clear what was the final nail in the coffin, but as of last week it was reported that Redstone was not happy with the latest version of the Skydance deal over a reduced buyout of her holdings and she was also concerned over potential shareholder lawsuits. Today’s announcement comes after reports from this morning that the Paramount Global board was set to vote on the Skydance deal, with at least one board member planning on opposing it.

Yet another bidder…

Edgar Bronfman Jr., the chairman of the sports-centric FuboTV, has joined the party. The former Seagrams and Warner Music Group CEO has put together a bid with the backing of Bain Capital according to multiple outlets. The deal calls for buying out Redstone’s NAI for $2 – $2.5 billion giving him effective control of Paramount Global. Like with the bid being put together by producer Steven Paul which we reported last week, there would not be a second-step merger like with the Skydance deal, so Redstone would not have to worry about shareholder lawsuits as Paramount Global stock would not be involved.

It is unclear what plans Bronfman has for Paramount Global if he gets control of Redstone’s voting stock. This bid could be related to the recently announced partnership between Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery to form a new streaming sports venture. Fubo has already launched a lawsuit alleging that the deal violates anti-trust laws. Bronfman may be looking to CBS and the NFL and other sports rights it holds as a way to counter the potential competition from the new Disney/Warner/Fox sports streamer.

Going it alone

As noted in our last update, it’s possible Redstone has decided that she can try to take Paramount forward without any of these potential deals. A new strategy was announced at last week’s shareholder meeting outlining $500 million in non-content cost cutting (likely via layoffs) as well as finding a joint venture for Paramount+ as well as selling off non-strategic assets (like BET).

The NAI statement today indicates this may where things are going:

“NAI supports the recently announced strategic plan being executed by Paramount’s Office of the CEO as well as their ongoing work and that of the Company’s Board of Directors to continue to explore opportunities to drive value creation for all Paramount shareholders.”

Once again the future of the company that holds the future of Star Trek in its hands remains still in flux. There was some optimism that the Skydance deal would be good for the franchise as they had plans to keep Paramount+ (home of Star Trek TV0 around, and the company already had a relationship with the recent Star Trek movies, with CEO David Ellison credited as an executive producer on both Into Darkness and Beyond.

As always, TrekMovie will report on the latest in business news that impacts the franchise.

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