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Shari’s Moment of Hard Truth

Shari Restone is said to be unwilling to pull the trigger on the Skydance deal just yet, despite the Paramount shareholder meeting today.
Shari Restone is said to be unwilling to pull the trigger on the Skydance deal just yet, despite the Paramount shareholder meeting today. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
June 4, 2024

It’s kinda nuts how, as I type, all of Hollywood—not to mention the 20,000-plus employees of Paramount Global and everyone who works for National Amusements—is waiting around for one person to decide what to do. The Skydance deal is done. David Ellison & Co. would pay $2 billion for National Amusements, the Shari Redstone family holding company through which she controls Paramount Global. About half of Paramount’s B shareholders then get the sweetened $15 a share, a 26 percent premium over Friday’s close, and the company receives an added $1.5 billion to pay down debt while merging with Skydance. The Ellison group would then own two-thirds of Paramount, per the Journal, and David could begin figuring out where on the lot he’d like to park his bitchin’ Lamborghini.

Done deal, studio saved (for now), and Shari walks away with her head held (relatively) high, her creditors paid off, and her father’s legacy in the hands of one of the world’s richest families. And yet… she was said to be wavering last night. Unwilling to pull the trigger just yet, despite the shareholder meeting today. Looking at a rival bid for just National Amusements from the secret money behind producer Steven Paul, steward of the Baby Geniuses franchise. (Succession couldn’t make this up.) Or maybe doing nothing at all. Can you imagine if Shari takes the Paramount sale process all the way to the goal line… and then decides to run out the clock rather than lunge in for the touchdown?