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Shari and the Jeffs

shari redstone
What most long-suffering Paramount Global shareholders want most of all right now is the chance for a fresh start, after years of watching Shari and her team fritter away billions in value. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
June 2, 2024

Have we finally, at long last, reached the Paramount Global endgame? It’s increasingly looking that way. On Friday, my partner Matt Belloni first reported that the special committee of the Paramount board of directors had blessed the deal proposed by a consortium led by David Ellison of Skydance Media and Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital, after the group sweetened its bid over the course of the last week. On Sunday afternoon, the Journal reported that the sweetener included an offer to buy nonvoting shares at $15 each, or the option to roll them into the new deal, a premium of about 25 percent to Friday’s close. But whether the board’s recommendation is good enough for Shari Redstone remains to be seen. She alone is the decider. 

In truth, I’ve never seen so much obsessive, minute-to-minute media coverage around a deal with so little actual deal heat from potential buyers. Aside from Skydance/RedBird and Sony/Apollo—both of which have seemed somewhat indifferent to the asset at times, and keener to walk away than to complete the deal—there ain’t a whole lot of buyer interest in Paramount Global. It’s nutty, and I know I’ve done my part in contributing to the media frenzy. But I find it fascinating from an M&A point of view because it’s been such a bizarre and lengthy process, and Shari could still decide to do nothing at the end of all this mishegas, which has seen the departure of the company’s C.E.O. and four of its board members along the way. Shareholders would hate it if she walked away at this point, but she’ll probably face investor lawsuits no matter what she decides. (This is neither investment nor legal advice.)