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Shari’s Ticking Clock

shari redstone
Each bid for Paramount Global has its problems: While the Sony/Apollo deal has the benefit of being simple and all-cash, Shari Redstone may be loath to turn her heirloom over to a private equity chop shop. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
May 15, 2024

If it seems like the Paramount Global sale process has gone quiet, think again. It’s during these moments when the real work of the special committee of the board of directors—led by Charles Phillips, the former Morgan Stanley banker and, perhaps conveniently, former Oracle executive—gets managed. This is also when the two final bidders, the teams at Sony/Apollo and at Ellison/RedBird, are doing their last rounds of financial, legal and environmental due diligence on Paramount, getting access to information well beyond what is in the public realm. And it’s when Paramount is doing its own due diligence on Skydance Media to decide whether the $5 billion purchase price that David Ellison and RedBird Capital have put on that production company is fair. 

This is also when the special committee’s advisors, Blair Effron at Centerview Partners and Faiza Saeed at Cravath, go into overdrive evaluating the two proposals on behalf of the non-Redstone Paramount shareholders, and earn their substantial fees. So, don’t be fooled into thinking that nothing is going on in the Times Square corporate office; the hard work of evaluating the two deals is reaching its fever pitch, I’m told. “We’re running out of things to delay this on,” shared one participant in the process.