TV & Streaming

Paramount and Skydance agree to merger, ending months of speculation

The deal was approved by Paramount’s board on Sunday.
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The wait may finally be over.

Paramount Global and production company Skydance Media finally agreed to a deal to merge on Sunday, ending monthslong speculation on the future of Paramount, which is home to Paramount Studios, streaming service Paramount+ and major entertainment brands like CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon.

As part of the deal, Skydance will acquire National Amusements, the company that is owned by Shari Redstone and controls a majority of Paramount’s voting stock, for $2.4 billion in cash, before merging with Paramount by offering Paramount shareholders $4.5 billion in stock and cash and providing an additional $1.5 billion in primary capital to the company’s balance sheet. There is a chance that the deal may not go through: The merger is subject to regulatory approval and includes a 45-day window in which Paramount’s board can entertain competing offers from other suitors.

If the transaction is finalized, though, Skydance founder and CEO David Ellison will become chairman and CEO of Paramount, and Jeff Shell, a former NBCU exec who exited the company in 2023 following an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint against him and who is currently chairman of RedBird Sports and Media, will become president.

“The key thesis behind this transaction is our desire to inject Skydance as a pure-play content company, to double down on Paramount’s prowess as one of the world-class storytelling enterprises, and also ensure that the company is positioned to be able to expand into a tech hybrid…to meet the demands and needs of the evolving marketplace,” Ellison said during a Monday call with investors.

Create the blueprint: On the call, Paramount and Skydance execs laid out a vision for the company. Priorities for the newly merged company would include improving the algorithmic recommendation engine, optimizing ad tech to improve buy-side transparency, integrating generative AI, and building a studio in the cloud for Skydance animation in partnership with Oracle (which was founded by Ellison’s father, Larry Ellison).

“Skydance takes a bunch of parts of the business that Paramount needs to get into, including games…and adds a growth engine to the company,” Shell said on the call.

Meanwhile, CNBC reported last week that Paramount is looking to potentially merge Paramount+ with another streaming service, like Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max.

Old is gold? The Paramount-Skydance merger news comes after months of back-and-forth between the two companies as they sought to strike a mutually appealing deal, and as Paramount has struggled financially as cable TV bleeds viewers and streaming services bleed cash.

After almost reaching a deal with Skydance last month, Redstone called it off at the eleventh hour. After that deal fell apart, others, like billionaire Barry Diller, were in talks with Paramount about a potential deal, according to the New York Times.

Paramount has also faced executive turnover in recent months. Earlier this year, Bob Bakish stepped down as CEO and was replaced by a three-exec team called the “office of the CEO.”

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