Paramount Global’s Stock Soars Amid Skydance’s Pursuit of Exclusive Negotiating Window for Deal – Updated

Paramount Global’s Stock Soars Amid Skydance’s Pursuit of Exclusive Negotiating Window for Deal – Updated

UPDATED with stock price: Shares of Paramount Global jumped more than 15% on Wednesday afternoon with Skydance chief David Ellison in pole position to clinch a majority stake of National Amusements.

Led by Shari Redstone, National Amusements operates a movie theater circuit and also controls more than three-quarters of Paramount’s voting shares. A report in Bloomberg just prior to market close suggested a tentative agreement may have been reached between Ellison, a longtime business partner on film and TV projects with Paramount, and Redstone.

The news comes after earlier in the day Deadline reported that the parties had established a 30-day exclusive negotiating window, a sign that things were moving forward after months of speculation. Paramount won’t engage with other parties on a deal for 30 days.

Reps for Skydance and Paramount both declined comment on the window.

Deal talk exploded in December when it first surfaced that Skydance was interested. David Zaslav’s Warner Bros Discovery was in the mix then too, and private equity giant Apollo Global has been in and out, most recently with an $11 billion bid for the Paramount studio. Redstone, however, would prefer to sell the company intact, not in pieces.

Paramount Global’s finances (debt, streaming losses, negative free cash flow) are less than stellar and it’s a smaller company than its main rivals at a complex time in the media business. CEO Bob Bakish has said the company will entertain all offers. Paramount did a big round of layoffs in February. It’s also been selling off non-core assets.

Last week, big ratings agency S&P lowered the company’s bonds to junk status, cited the toll of ongoing pay-TV declines and the shift toward a more competitive and more uncertain streaming model.

Paramount Global is controlled by National Amusements, the Redstone family holding company, which is in turn controlled by Shari Redstone. The Skydance deal would require two steps: first the acquisition of NAI, and then merging Skydance and Paramount.

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