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Ellison’s Redstone Gambit & Ackman’s Endgame

Skydance Media C.E.O. David Ellison attends the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 7, 2024.
If Ellison fils buys NAI for, effectively, $3.125 billion (its equity and debt), what’s going to happen to the Paramount Global stock? Photo: Kevin Winter/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images
William D. Cohan
January 14, 2024

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported, and my partner Matt Belloni advanced, the fact that David Ellison is looking to move forward on an acquisition of National Amusements Inc., the Redstones’ heirloom that controls Paramount Global. Ostensibly, Ellison is pursuing NAI as a less expensive workaround to get his hands on Paramount Global in order to combine the Paramount studio with his Skydance production company. The news struck me, both as a former M&A banker and longtime scholar of the Redstones and their businesses, as fraught. After all, buying NAI may seem  clever, but it’s also rife with innumerable headaches.