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Shari Redstone Ends Talks With Skydance About Paramount Merger: Report

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After more than six months of on-again-off-again talks, Shari Redstone has ended negotiations with David Ellison‘s Skydance Media about a prospective merger with Paramount Global, per a Wall Street Journal report.

Redstone, Paramount Global’s controlling shareholder through National Amusements Inc., is instead looking to pursue deals with parties interested in acquiring NAI, which owns 77% of the voting shares in Paramount, per the Journal.

A rep for Skydance Media declined to comment. An NAI spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Redstone, daughter of late media mogul Sumner Redstone, and Ellison, son of Oracle founder and megabillionaire Larry Ellison, were ultimately unable to reach an agreement on the terms of a complex transaction that would have turned over control of Paramount Global to Skydance and its private-equity partners, RedBird Capital Partners and KKR.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty over the bid by Skydance and its team, others have emerged to potentially scope out an acquisition of National Amusements alone (instead of trying to construct a deal that also comprises Paramount Global). Those include Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Bain Capital, which are considering a bid of up to $2.5 billion for NAI, as well as producer and filmmaker Steven Paul, who was behind the “Baby Geniuses” movie franchise.

Skydance’s last offer was approved by Paramount Global’s special committee established to evaluate M&A offers earlier this month, and it was submitted to Redstone for consideration last weekend. Under those proposed terms, the Skydance consortium would have paid Redstone about $2 billion for NAI and current Paramount Class B shareholders (who do not have voting rights) would have been offered to cash in nearly half their shares for $15 per share. The Skydance group also would have paid $1.5 billion in cash to help pay down Paramount’s debt. After the merger of Paramount Global and Skydance, the Skydance consortium would have owned about two-thirds of the shares in Paramount as a public company.

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