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Skydance Media merger with Paramount appears dead

The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)
The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)

National Amusements owner Shari Redstone has ended discussions with Skydance Media about offloading her controlling stake in Paramount Global, according to numerous media reports published on Tuesday.

The decision ends months of discussion and speculation about the deal, which reportedly involved Skydance Media using cash to buy Redstone out of National Amusements, then merging with Paramount through an all-stock transaction. National Amusements owns a controlling stake of Paramount stock.

The plan angered investors, but was appealing to Redstone, until it wasn’t. According to the Wall Street Journal, the discussions fell apart because Redstone and Skydance could not see eye-to-eye on certain terms involving Paramount, including whether the deal should require approval from a majority of Paramount’s other shareholders. Redstone supported a vote; Skydance did not.

A committee formed by Paramount’s board to explore a potential tie-up between it and Skydance was set to vote on the matter on Tuesday, but the vote was cancelled after Redstone pulled her support for the original plan, according to the Journal.

Now, Redstone is exploring a sale of National Amusements on its own, the Journal said, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Shortly after the Journal’s report, a spokesperson for National Amusements confirmed it could not reach “mutually acceptable terms regarding the potential transaction with Skydance Media for the acquisition of a controlling stake in” the company.

“NAI is grateful to Skydance for their months of work in pursuing this potential transaction and looks forward to the ongoing, successful production collaboration between Paramount and Skydance,” the spokesperson said. “NAI supports the recently announced strategic plan being executed by Paramount’s Office of the CEO as well as their ongoing work and that of the Company’s Board of Directors to continue to explore opportunities to drive value creation for all Paramount shareholders.”

The collapse clears the way for another interested party to acquire National Amusements and its majority stake in Paramount, including investment firms and rival media brands. It was not clear if any party had submitted an offer for National Amusements by Tuesday evening, or whether the company was entertaining those offers.

Paramount owns the famed film and television production company, Paramount Pictures; the CBS broadcast network; cable networks MTV, VH1, BET, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and TV Land; and numerous television outlets overseas, including Channel 5 in the United Kingdom and Network 10 in Australia. It also owns the direct-to-consumer streaming services Paramount Plus with Showtime and Pluto TV.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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