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Paramount on the Precipice

shari redstone
The Apollo/Sony offer basically confirmed what most people in Hollywood feared: Sony Pictures would take the lead and likely merge with Paramount, thereby reducing the number of legacy Hollywood studios down to four. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
May 3, 2024

A good source told me tonight that the Paramount Global special committee evaluating sale options has decided not to extend the exclusive negotiation window with Skydance, which ends tomorrow night, because it wants to explore Sony Pictures and Apollo’s $26 billion bid that was finally revealed today. (Paramount and Skydance declined to comment; a rep for the special committee couldn’t be reached.) The committee could still change its mind tomorrow, but if the decision holds, that’s quite a development, given Shari Redstone, who controls the company, wants the Skydance deal. In fact, during negotiations, Redstone has made it clear she won’t entertain any offer that would break up her father’s empire, which the private equity-backed Sony bid would almost certainly do, thanks to regulatory concerns and other issues.

In fact, the Apollo/Sony offer basically confirmed what most people in Hollywood feared: Sony Pictures would take the lead and likely merge with Paramount, eliminating thousands of jobs and a major buyer for film and television, thereby reducing the number of legacy Hollywood studios down to four. Not great. At this point, it’s a bit surprising that big-name Paramount talent or industry statesmen types like George Clooney or Martin Scorsese still haven’t publicly chosen a side here. Skydance’s David Ellison has financial partners in his bid, but ultimately, he’s an individual buyer, and he has his father’s $150 billion fortune behind him. That’s almost certainly better for the creative community than a foreign company and P.E. vampires swallowing an iconic studio.