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Apollo’s Latest Shari Twist

marc rowan
This is obviously a fast-evolving situation, and the sudden emergence of Sony is prima facie evidence of Apollo’s clever deal tactics. Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
April 21, 2024

The battle for Paramount Global has now been joined. On the one hand, there is David Ellison, RedBird Capital, and KKR, who together have concocted an interesting, albeit complicated, deal that would take out Shari Redstone at a big profit and then recapitalize Paramount Global with new equity, a new management team, and the addition of Skydance Media while keeping Paramount Global a publicly traded company. That’s a lot to digest, sure, but the promise is that the combination of David Ellison, Jeff Shell, and likely Jeff Zucker will de-Bakish-ize the business—clean it up by selling off BET and Showtime and then somehow stem the losses at Paramount+, perhaps by combining it with Comcast’s Peacock or shutting it down altogether. 

The problem with the Ellison deal, of course, is that it nets Shari a 160 percent premium for her Paramount Global stake, contained in National Amusements Inc., her family’s holding company, while offering the other, non-Redstone shareholders a hope and a prayer but bupkus up front. As I noted on Wednesday, in my ongoing talmudic study of the demise of Shari’s empire, it might work—partly because its bells and whistles might actually turn the company’s prospects around. But it might not. Perhaps the problems at Paramount are purely macroeconomic, and can’t be solved even with more money and better executives.