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Shari Redstone Halts Paramount Sale Talks with Skydance Media

 |  June 12, 2024

In a surprising turn of events, media heiress Shari Redstone abruptly ended discussions with David Ellison’s Skydance Media on Tuesday, derailing the anticipated sale of a controlling stake in Paramount Global (PARA.O) to the independent studio. Sources familiar with the negotiations confirmed the news.

Redstone, Paramount’s largest shareholder, halted the talks just as an agreement seemed imminent. A special committee of Paramount’s board was set to review a proposed deal when it received word that Redstone had called off the discussions.

The daughter of the late media magnate Sumner Redstone, Shari Redstone had been expected to sell her family’s stake to Ellison as part of a $2.25 billion deal for the family’s holding company, National Amusements. This sale was a key component of a broader, intricate $8 billion transaction that aimed to merge Paramount, one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, with the smaller but rising Skydance.

Related: Paramount-Skydance Deal Reaches Agreement on Merger Terms

National Amusements revealed that while economic terms had been settled, they “could not come to agreement” with Skydance on other, unspecified issues, without providing further details.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to the matter, first reported the collapse of the deal. It also suggested that Redstone is likely to seek a sale of National Amusements independently, rather than pursuing another merger for Paramount.

National Amusements owns movie theaters across the U.S., Britain, and Latin America, and controls 77% of Paramount’s class A voting stock. Two other parties have expressed interest in acquiring the Paramount stake: independent Hollywood producer Steven Paul and Seagram heir Edgar Bronfman, who has the backing of private equity firm Bain Capital.

Source: Reuters