Paramount Drama: Shari Redstone Rejects Skydance’s $2bn Offer – What’s Next for Entertainment Empire?

Los Angeles, California – Shari Redstone has decided to halt discussions with Skydance Media regarding a potential deal that would have transferred control of Paramount from her family to billionaire David Ellison. This move brings an end to months of negotiations between Redstone and Ellison’s Skydance, leaving the fate of Paramount uncertain.

Skydance had proposed a $2 billion acquisition of Redstone’s National Amusements (NAI), with plans to subsequently merge Paramount into Ellison’s company through a stock deal. The offer included buying out half of Paramount’s common shareholders at $15 per share and injecting $1.5 billion to assist in paying off the company’s debts. However, NAI announced that they were unable to come to agreeable terms with Skydance after months of discussions, acknowledging Skydance’s efforts in pursuing the potential transaction.

The news of Redstone’s decision to cease talks came as a surprise to Ellison’s camp, which included private equity firms RedBird and KKR. Despite appearing close to reaching a deal in recent weeks, Redstone ultimately changed her mind, citing Skydance’s revised cash distribution strategy among shareholders as a contributing factor in her decision.

Paramount’s special committee, responsible for representing the interests of all shareholders, previously supported Skydance’s bid in a non-binding endorsement. However, the committee was informed by an NAI representative that there was no deal following a meeting to discuss the Skydance proposal. With no clear path forward on the transaction, NAI is now exploring other potential offers from suitors like billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr. and film producer Steven Paul.

While interest in acquiring NAI remains, challenges persist due to NAI’s substantial control over Paramount’s voting rights despite owning only a small percentage of the company’s shares. Any potential buyer of NAI could effectively control Paramount without acquiring the entire company, a situation that may lead non-voting shareholders to contest such a move legally. As Redstone considers her options, the future ownership of Paramount hangs in the balance.