Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Paramount operates CBS, Paramount+ and various cable channels
Ellison sees opportunity to acquire one of the big studios
WBD has also been linked with a deal

Skydance Media, the production company controlled by David Ellison, has reportedly made a takeover bid for media conglomerate Paramount Global.

Bloomberg says Ellison has made a “preliminary offer” to Paramount’s parent National Amusements and has held initial discussions about merging Skydance’s operations into an enlarged post-transaction company.

Ellison is reportedly attracted by the prospect of acquiring one of the biggest film studios in Hollywood, having worked as a financier and producer of several Paramount Pictures films in the past.

However, the deal would also see him gain control of CBS, one of the ‘big four’ major US television networks, the Paramount+ streaming service, and a suite of major cable channels including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

CBS is a major broadcast partner for the National Football League (NFL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) March Madness college basketball tournament, and Uefa’s club soccer competitions, including the Champions League.

With Skydance being a much smaller company than Paramount, Ellison purportedly plans to finance the deal with help from Skydance’s investors, including his father and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, as well as private equity firms RedBird Capital Partners and KKR.

Paramount is believed to have a valuation of close to US$10 billion and is a profitable business. However, it is said to be open to a sale amid declining cable revenues and the necessary costs associated with adapting to the streaming era of entertainment and competing with the likes of Netflix and Disney. 

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) is also said to be interested in merging with Paramount in a bid to create a more powerful challenger to Netflix and Disney+, among others.

Paramount chief executive Bob Bakish has reportedly met with David Zaslav, his counterpart at WBD, about a deal that would combine each other’s film, entertainment, news, sports and streaming operations.  

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