At the end of a challenging year, reports emerged that Paramount Global had begun to explore opportunities to sell off at least some of its divisions, if not the entire company. In December, a first volley of interest surfaced when Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish to discuss their potential synergies.
This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Skydance Media is in “advanced” talks to acquire Paramount and its parent company National Amusements. If that deal is consummated, Skydance Media CEO David Ellison, son of the Oracle founder and tech billionaire Larry Ellison, would merge Paramount Global into Skydance Media.
By executing this “two-step deal,” Ellison would emerge as one of Hollywood’s leading executives, joining the ranks of David Zaslav (Warner Bros. Discovery), Bob Iger (Disney), Donna Langley (Universal) and Ted Sarandos (Netflix) as heads of Hollywood’s iconic studios. Skydance has had success in working with Paramount already, having collaborated on the financing of TOP-GUN: MAVERICK, the top grossing movie worldwide in 2022. One can imagine that may have whet Ellison’s appetite to get more deeply involved in the studio business.
However, financing such a deal may be challenging, given the size and scope of the businesses under the National Amusements umbrella. However, because Skydance Media may be willing to acquire National Amusements, rather than the Paramount Global portion alone, talks appear to have progressed further with Skydance than with Warner Bros. Discovery.