April 13, 2024

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Paramount Global and Skydance have set an exclusive negotiating window

Paramount Global and Skydance have set an exclusive negotiating window

Updated with stock pricee: Paramount Global shares jumped more than 15% Wednesday afternoon, with Skydance Chairman David Ellison in first place to take a majority stake in National Amusements.

National Amusements, led by Shari Redstone, operates a motion picture division and also controls more than three-quarters of Paramount's voting stock. A report in Bloomberg just before the market closed suggested that a tentative agreement may have been reached between Ellison, a longtime business partner in film and television projects with Paramount, and Redstone.

Deadline reported earlier Wednesday that the parties had created an exclusive 30-day negotiating window.

previously: Paramount Global and David Ellison's Skydance Media have set an exclusive negotiating period for merger talks, Deadline has learned, a sign that things are moving forward after months of speculation. Paramount will not engage with third parties on a 30-day deal.

Representatives for Skydance and Paramount declined to comment.

Talk of a deal exploded in December when it first emerged that Skydance was interested. David Zaslav's Warner Bros. Discovery was also in the mix, and private equity giant Apollo Global has come in and out, most recently with an $11 billion bid for studio Paramount. However, Redstone prefers to sell the company intact, rather than in pieces.

Paramount Global's finances (debt, trailing losses and negative free cash flow) are less than stellar and it is a smaller company than its major competitors at a complex time in the media business. CEO Bob Bakish said the company will entertain all offers. Paramount made a major round of layoffs in February. Non-core assets have also been sold

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Last week, major credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the company's bonds to junk status, citing the toll of continuing declines in pay TV and a shift toward a more competitive and uncertain streaming model.

Paramount Global is controlled by National Amusements (NAI), the holding company of the Redstone family, which is in turn controlled by Shari Redstone. The Skydance deal would require two steps: first the acquisition of NAI, then the merger of Skydance and Paramount.