Say Hello to the 'New Paramount'

And goodbye to the reign of the Redstone family, as Paramount plans its merger with Skydance
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2024 8:14 AM CDT
Say Hello to the 'New Paramount'
The main gate to Paramount Studios is seen on Melrose Avenue on July 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Paramount Global has had a tough time of it in the digital era, struggling to gain a foothold in the streaming arena—but a new merger may remedy some of that. Per the AP, Paramount announced Sunday that it has struck a deal to merge with the Skydance Media production firm, with Skydance founder David Ellison set to serve as chairman and CEO of "New Paramount," reportedly worth about $28 billion. The merger effectively ends the reign of the Redstone family over Paramount, which owns such high-profile properties as CBS and Nickelodeon. In his new role, Ellison, the son of billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison, plans to "improve profitability, foster stability and independence for creators, and enable more investment in faster growing digital platforms," the two companies say in a statement, per Business Insider.

Shari Redstone, daughter of the late Sumner Redstone, holds a controlling stake in Paramount via National Amusements, which she took over from her father after he died in 2020. As recently as a few weeks ago, Shari Redstone reportedly rejected a similar Skydance offer, but has now changed her tune, noting that "given the changes in the industry, we want to fortify Paramount for the future while ensuring that content remains king," per the AP. Paramount launched Paramount+ in 2021 to try to grab some streaming market share, but it never made inroads the way it had hoped. Earlier this year, the company said it would lay off 800 people globally, or about 3% of its workforce, per Quartz.

Deadline notes the merger involves two phases, with the full combination coming after the acquisition of National Amusements. There's a 45-day "go shop" period in which other suitors can still make offers, but Shari Redstone seemed to be cajoled into this agreement because Skydance's offer would keep Paramount intact instead of breaking it up.
"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," Redstone notes. "We believe in Paramount and we always will." The deal, which still needs to get the green light from regulators, is expected to be finalized early next year—putting its "gold-plated media assets ... in new hands for the first time since the 1980s," per Deadline. (More Paramount stories.)

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