Negotiations between Paramount and Skydance intensify| Trending Viral hub

Shari Redstone is one step closer to selling her media empire.

Paramount, home to one of Hollywood’s most storied movie studios as well as CBS and cable networks such as Nickelodeon, has been considering exclusive talks with media company Skydance about a possible deal, according to four people with knowledge of the negotiations. discussions. Moving to exclusive talks would be an important step forward in a process that has been shrouded in uncertainty for months.

It remains to be seen whether the two sides will agree to exclusivity, especially since other investors are still pursuing Paramount. Apollo Global Management, an investment firm with more than $500 billion under management, has submitted an $11 billion bid to acquire the Paramount film studio. Paramount’s board, however, is seeking a deal for the entire company – including its cable channels and CBS – rather than parts of it.

Apollo continues to evaluate which proposal might appeal most to the company’s board, two people familiar with the situation said. Byron Allen, whose Entertainment Studios owns Weather Channel, has also expressed interest in acquiring Paramount.

Redstone, Paramount’s majority shareholder, began negotiating with Skydance to sell its stake in the company last year. She controls Paramount through National Amusements, a holding company that owns her voting shares in Paramount. Redstone has put off a sale for years, betting that the company’s fortunes would improve as its main streaming service, Paramount+, gains momentum.

The terms of the deal being discussed would involve Skydance purchasing National Amusements and merging with Paramount. That deal depends on approval from Paramount’s board, which for weeks has been weighing its options with the help of advisers.

Late last month, David Ellison, the tech scion who founded Skydance, met with Paramount’s board committee to discuss his vision for a deal, according to two of the people familiar with the conversations. Founded in 2010, Skydance is best known for directing blockbusters for Paramount, including films in the “Mission: Impossible” and “Top Gun” franchises.

Representatives for Paramount and Skydance declined to comment, and financial terms of the deal were not available.

Paramount shares have fallen 18 percent since the beginning of the year amid headwinds for the media industry. The company trades at a deep discount to the combined value of Viacom and CBS, which merged to form Paramount in 2019. Paramount+ continues to lose money, but its losses have slowed and it continues to add subscribers.

Ratings agency S&P Global downgraded Paramount’s debt to junk last week, citing “accelerating declines” in its traditional television business and continued uncertainty in its push into streaming. Some analysts said the rating action could make Paramount easier to acquire because it could circumvent a provision that would require a buyer to immediately pay off the company’s debt.

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