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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Paramount signs off on merger with David Ellison’s Skydance

By Aaron Gregg Washington Post

Paramount Global will merge with Skydance Media, capping months of twist-and-turn negotiations and catapulting the storied entertainment company behind CBS, MTV and the “Top Gun” franchise into a new era.

Under a deal approved late Sunday, Skydance will acquire National Amusements, a holding company with a controlling stake in Paramount. National Amusements is led by Shari Redstone, the daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, who died in 2020.

The deal comes as Paramount has lost money in its attempt to establish itself in a competitive streaming market dominated by Netflix, Disney and a few others. Its market value has dropped by more than half since 2019, even as it has continued to steer blockbuster hits such as “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022). Most recently, the company has ventured into animation and sports content.

The agreement also comes after the board spent more than six months considering various offers and counteroffers, with a previous attempt at a deal with Skydance falling apart just a few weeks ago. And, if approved by regulators, it also ends the Redstone era.

Skydance founder David Ellison will become chairman and CEO. The son of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, he started Skydance in 2010 and the company quickly established itself as a force in Hollywood, helping to produce films such as the Tom Cruise action films “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011) and “Jack Reacher” (2012), along with “World War Z” (2013) starring Brad Pitt.

Paramount board member Charles E. Phillips Jr. said the combination will deliver both “immediate value and future upside opportunity” for stockholders.

“Following extensive negotiations with Skydance, we believe this proposed transaction will position Paramount for success in a rapidly evolving industry landscape,” Phillips said a statement Monday.

It’s possible a new buyer could still swoop in and acquire Paramount, as the deal approved Monday allows for a 45-day “go-shop” period during which alternative proposals can be considered. Other possible suitors include media mogul Barry Diller, whose digital media conglomerate signed nondisclosure agreements with National Amusements, seen as a prelude to dealmaking, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal first reported news of a potential Skydance agreement last week.