Paramount agrees to sweetened Skydance merger deal

2024-07-08 07:46

Business


Paramount Pictures studio lot at 5555 Melrose Ave.
Skydance founder David Ellison is set to become Paramount’s new chairman and chief executive. | Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Paramount Global has agreed to merge with Skydance Media in a deal that will see the joint enterprise, temporarily dubbed “New Paramount,” valued at approximately $28 billion.

As part of the two-step agreement announced on Sunday, Paramount Chair Shari Redstone (the daughter of Sumner Redstone) will sell National Amusements — which holds her family’s controlling stake in Paramount — for $2.4 billion. Skydance will then merge with Paramount, investing $8 billion to purchase Paramount’s shares and pay off some of the company’s balance sheet. Bloomberg reports that Paramount has $14.6 billion of debt as of March, partially attributed to streaming losses and a decline in the company’s broadcast and cable TV business.

“Given the changes in the industry, we want to fortify Paramount for the future while ensuring that content remains king,” said Redstone, citing a phrase often associated with her late father. “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.”

Skydance founder David Ellison (son of Oracle’s Larry Ellison) will become the new chairman and chief executive of Paramount, with former NBCUniversal chief executive Jeff Shell assigned as its new president. Ellison replaces former Paramount CEO Bob Bakish, who departed the company in April after reportedly clashing with Redstone over the Skydance deal.

The merger announcement follows months of negotiations, with the agreement initially appearing to be called off in June after the companies couldn’t “reach mutually acceptable terms.” According to Reuters, the new deal offered by Skydance increases the Redstone family’s payout to $1.75 billion and bolsters legal protections against potential shareholder lawsuits.

Redstone now has a 45-day “go-shop” period under the merger agreement to accept a better deal. However, as Deadline notes, Redstone’s internal announcement sent to employees thanking them for their service suggests it’s a done deal. “The agreement we entered into today is subject to closing conditions, and we expect the deal to be completed in the first half of 2025.”


Source: https://www.theverge.com/2024/7/8/24194043/paramount-skydance-merger-deal-announced-28-billion