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Shari Inches Toward Parting With Paramount

Shari Redstone arrives at the Sun Valley Resort for the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 10, 2018, in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
December 7, 2023

A couple weeks ago, I floated David Ellison and his Skydance Media as a potential participant in the Paramount Global sweepstakes, if and when Shari Redstone decides to sell her challenged media heirloom. My speculation was based on a few factors: that Skydance could skirt the likely regulatory hurdles Paramount would face if it ever combined with a competitor like Warner Bros. Discovery or Comcast’s NBCUniversal; rumblings I’d heard about Ellison’s interest in the company; his family money; and his relationships with private equity powerhouses like KKR and RedBird Capital. Plus, Ellison was already in business with Paramount on franchises like Mission: Impossible and Reacher.

As it turns out, Skydance is kicking the tires on the Redstone assets, per three sources with knowledge of the situation. It’s Ellison and RedBird’s Gerry Cardinale taking the lead, I’m told, but it’s super early, and a potential deal—if Redstone actually decides to pull the trigger—could take several different forms. There’s no official process or dealbook, but NDAs have been signed, and a small group is said to be working up the numbers. Don’t get too excited, but remember that there was also no official process on WarnerMedia’s combination with Discovery Communications. The Redstone folks are also talking to others about potential deals. (Reps for Skydance and Paramount declined to comment.)