A Paramount Post-Postmortem

Shari Redstone
Shari’s reasoning for calling for the deal comprised a bouillabaisse of all the things that make a drawn-out M&A process hazardous to actually reaching a deal. Photo: Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
June 19, 2024

Now that the Skydance/RedBird deal is officially dead—the bad blood between the two sides is plenty thick—the Sony/Apollo contingent may be getting back into contention as a possible acquirer of Paramount Global. To be clear, Shari Redstone is still licking her wounds after six months of failed negotiations with David Ellison and Gerry Cardinale, so she may be in no mood quite yet to re-engage with Sony and Apollo, especially since she was not that enamored of their offer to start. On the other hand, she is going to have to do something at some point and Sony/Apollo, which has been laying in wait for weeks now, surely has the wherewithal to see a deal through. I’m told that Paul Taubman, their M&A advisor, is engaged and ready to go; the teams are still doing due diligence and are just waiting for Shari to give a signal of some sort—white smoke?—that she might be ready to get back into deal mode, so don’t be surprised if, in a few weeks, Shari’s M&A saga is back to being front-page news. 

I’m told that the special committee of the Paramount Global board of directors—comprised of all directors but Shari—is prepared to try to sort through what are surely serious and legitimate regulatory concerns about a foreign company like Sony buying into Paramount Global, and about whether Apollo’s ownership of local television stations could block it from acquiring CBS’s own local television stations. But we’re not there yet.