End of an Era: Paramount and Skydance Merge, Concluding Redstone’s Reign

Shari Redstone has agreed to sell Paramount, the iconic Hollywood studio, to independent film company Skydance, effectively ending her family’s involvement with the company founded by her grandfather in 1936.

This $28 billion merger concludes an intense eight-month process during which Redstone explored various potential buyers, including private equity firm Apollo and Sony.

The announcement comes only weeks after Redstone halted a deal with Skydance, led by billionaire David Ellison and backed by private equity groups such as RedBird. The transaction is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2025.

The sale transfers ownership of Paramount, known for classic films like The Godfather, Titanic, Chinatown, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to Ellison’s company. David Ellison is the son of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, one of the wealthiest individuals globally.

“Given the industry’s evolving landscape, we aim to strengthen Paramount for the future while keeping content as our core focus,” said Redstone. “We believe that the Skydance merger will allow Paramount to continue thriving in this rapidly changing environment.”

According to the agreement, Skydance will invest approximately $8 billion to acquire Paramount. In a two-step process, Skydance will first pay $2.4 billion to buy out National Amusements, which controls nearly 80% of Paramount’s voting shares.

Skydance will then merge with Paramount, with common shareholders in Paramount receiving $15 per share and A share holders receiving $23 per share.

Founded by Ellison in 2010, Skydance has produced major hits such as Top Gun: Maverick, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Despite the lengthy negotiation period, Ellison and Redstone found common ground early on. Both were raised by demanding fathers — Sumner Redstone often stated his daughter would never run his company — and both share a deep appreciation for the Paramount studio lot on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, according to sources close to the executives.

“I am deeply thankful to Shari Redstone and her family for trusting us with the opportunity to lead Paramount,” said Ellison, who will become the chief executive and chair of the group.

After her father’s passing in 2020, Redstone took over the company, advocating for a competitive stance against Netflix and other streaming services with the launch of Paramount+, which has incurred significant losses.

The future of Paramount+ will be one of the critical issues facing Jeff Shell, the former chief executive of NBC, who is set to become president of the newly combined entity.

With mounting losses last year, then-CEO Bob Bakish reduced the company’s dividend, which unsettled investors and impacted Redstone’s finances. This prompted her to explore strategic options.

During a tumultuous and highly publicized process with multiple competing bids, Bakish and four board members left the company due to disagreements with Redstone.

As part of the agreement reached on Sunday, Paramount’s advisers have 45 days to consider rival bids for the company.

In the weeks since the previous Skydance deal fell through, other potential bidders have emerged, including media mogul Barry Diller and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr., heir to the Seagram business. The private equity group Apollo, in conjunction with Sony, had also proposed to acquire Paramount at a $26 billion valuation.

“The recapitalization of Paramount and its merger with Skydance under David Ellison’s leadership marks a significant moment in the entertainment industry, especially as traditional media companies face increasing challenges from technological changes,” said Gerry Cardinale, founder of RedBird and Ellison’s key partner in the deal.


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