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Warners, Paramount, and the Allure of Mutual Desperation

The task will be for Bob Bakish to sell Shari on this or another deal, all while Shari carries on her own talks for NAI.
The task will be for Bob Bakish to sell Shari on this or another deal, all while Shari carries on her own talks for NAI. Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
December 22, 2023

My report two weeks ago on Shari Redstone’s talks with David Ellison’s Skydance and RedBird Capital seems to have sparked a feeding frenzy on Paramount Global and its parent, National Amusements, Inc. One or both of these companies almost certainly will be sold/merged in 2024, but it’s probably not worth getting especially worked up (yet!) about the Warner Bros. Discovery talks, first reported yesterday by Axios. I confirmed that a long meeting did take place between WBD’s David Zaslav and Paramount’s Bob Bakish. But Bakish can put on a little top hat and hawk his assets like a sidewalk salesman to anyone and everyone, the only thing that matters here is whether a deal passes the Shari test.