A Very Shari Christmas

Is Shari Redstone’s dalliance with the M&A market a bust, or is anyone seriously capable of buying the Frankenstein’s monster that is Paramount Global?
What to make of Shari Redstone’s dalliance with the M&A market? And is anyone seriously capable of buying the Frankenstein’s monster that is Paramount Global? Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
December 27, 2023

NDAs are being signed with abandon and Paramount Global is in play, in that wretched Wall Street argot. Instead of going into dormancy over the holiday weeks, as often happens, media bankers are revving up, either trying to find a client to hire them to take a run at Paramount, or working relatively hard, doing the analysis for the client who has hired them. 

We know that Byron Trott, the premier adviser to privately held companies at BDT & MSD Partners, has been hired by Shari Redstone to advise her on the potential sale of the family’s holding company, National Amusements Inc. NAI, of course, is where she houses her nearly 80 percent voting stake and her roughly 10 percent economic stake in Paramount, along with some aging New England movie theaters and about $1 billion of debt and another $125 million of preferred stock (owed to Trott’s firm). And we know Zaz & Co., at Warner Bros. Discovery, has hired Allen & Company to advise it on a potential acquisition of Paramount. David Ellison, son of Larry and the proprietor of Skydance Media, is partnered up with Gerry Cardinale, at RedBird Capital, and his crew of ex-Goldman bankers, to see about buying NAI. Before long, I suspect, Brian Roberts and Comcast/NBCU will be signing the Paramount NDA. Might as well get a free look inside the tent.