GOSSIP & RUMORS: David Ellison’s SkyDance Media wants to take Paramount take private
David Ellison’s Skydance media and its financial backers are looking into a deal to take Paramount Global private, according to a report.
Skydance — the film and TV studio run by Ellison, son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison — has exchanged preliminary information with Paramount, CNBC said Wednesday night, citing anonymous sources.
Full due diligence hasn’t started yet, the report said.
Skydance has been working with private equity firms RedBird Capital Partners and KKR on a deal to buy National Amusements, the holding company owned by Shari Redstone.
It controls 77% of Paramount’s voting stock.
But that deal is contingent on merging Skydance — which has produced Paramount blockbusters such as “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning,” “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” and “Top Gun: Maverick — with Redstone’s debt-laden media giant, CNBC reported.
Restone is considering selling Paramount — which owns the Paramount movie studio, MTV and CBS — as the media landscape moves away from traditional TV toward streaming, and her company struggles to keep up with the likes of Netflix, Disney and Amazon.
It is unclear if Redstone would demand a different premium for selling National Amusements — which also includes money-losing movie-theater chains such as Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas and Cinema de Lux — than the remaining shareholders of Paramount Global would obtain, CNBC reported.
The outlet said Skydance would need to secure additional capital to acquire Paramount, which has a market capitalization of $8.2 billion, CNBC said.
A portion of that funding could come from Skydance’s private equity partners, including Ellison’s father.
Skydance hasn’t reached out for outside financing yet, as it hasn’t decided if it wants to move forward with a deal, sources told CNBC.
They said that Skydance isn’t interested in a deal where it would only acquire National Amusements but not all of Paramount.
While such a deal would give Skydance control of Paramount, it wouldn’t solve Paramount’s problems as a publicly traded company, which include trying to run the money-losing streaming service Paramount+ and operating declining linear cable assets like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.
Reps for RedBird, Skydance, Paramount Global and National Amusements declined to comment.