The Shari Orchard

gerry cardinale
The outcome of the deal is far more material to Cardinale’s RedBird Capital, which is contributing $2 billion, making it the firm’s largest investment to date. Photo: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
July 10, 2024

Alas, Shari Redstone was nowhere to be found on Monday when the deal to sell her family’s birthright was finally announced. Perhaps she was too busy taking a victory lap, if you can call it that, in Sun Valley. (“We’re gonna save the world together!” she shouted at media reporters upon her arrival at the lodge.) She did, however, write a letter to Paramount employees thanking them for their support of her and her family over the years. “Against a challenging industry backdrop and many changes at the company, you have protected Paramount’s assets and delivered for our audiences,” she wrote. One longtime Paramount employee described her letter as “jaw-dropping.” 

Not surprisingly, I have a few observations about the revelations surrounding the deal announcement. First and foremost, the sale of National Amusements and Paramount Global from the Redstones to the Ellisons and RedBird Capital is a tale of two wealthy families. As I’ve written before, the relationship between the two clans goes back to when an ailing Sumner Redstone spent some time at one of Larry Ellison’s beachfront homes in Malibu in 2015. Manuela Herzer, a former girlfriend and one of two women Sumner was living with around that time, arranged to move the feeble Redstone into Ellison’s house while his mansion in Beverly Park was being fumigated for termites so he wouldn’t be exposed to any harmful chemicals, and so he could enjoy the cool sea breezes. “Sumner loves the ocean in the summer,” Herzer told me at the time.