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The Shari Soap Opera’s Final Twist

shari redstone
I wouldn’t call Shari Redstone a crafty negotiator, but she has proven for years that she can do, and will do, whatever she wants—even when it’s totally illogical. Photo: Martina Albertazzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
William D. Cohan
June 5, 2024

On Tuesday, Paramount Global’s three-headed interim C.E.O. monster, composed of George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy, and Brian Robbins, presented its plan for turning the company around under their continued leadership, assuming Shari Redstone, the ultimate decider, decides not to sell the company. The dynamic trio talked about cutting $500 million in costs, for starters, selling non-core assets, and considering a joint venture for Paramount+, the money-losing streaming business. (The Paramount Global stock traded down a few percent on the news.)  

Remarkably, left unmentioned in this bizarre forced march was the company’s nearly consummated deal with Skydance’s David Ellison and RedBird’s Gerry Cardinale. As my partner Matt Belloni reported on Monday night, Shari has been sitting on the sweetened offer of $2 billion for National Amusements, the family’s holding company that owns her controlling stake in Paramount Global, and $15 per share for the non-Redstone shareholders, plus $1.5 billion in debt reduction, among other part of the complex deal. As Matt noted, Redstone materfamilias was wavering as recently as Sunday night. In fairness, I suppose, she just got the final proposal over the weekend, and it is truly an existential decision for her.