National Amusements and Paramount Global Close to Setting an Exclusive Window for Acquisition Talks with Skydance Media

Paramount Global and its parent company are moving closer to an agreement with Skydance Media for an exclusive window for acquisition negotiations as Shari Redstone and David Ellison inch toward a deal to bring their companies together in a three-way transaction.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported on the rumors that have been swirling around Hollywood for the past few days. Representatives for Redstone and National Amusements and Skydance declined to comment. A source said the sides have discussed establishing 30-day window for exclusive talks in an effort to come to a decision one way or another after months of discussions.

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The path forward for Paramount appears to be slowly coming into focus around a complicated deal that would call for Skydance to acquire National Amusements, which is privately held and controlled by Redstone. The enlarged Skydance would then acquire Paramount Global, which is publicly traded, in a two-step process. Paramount Global and Skydance have been business partners in film and TV production for more than 10 years. That familiarity is said to be a big factor in Redstone’s willingness to consider a transaction.

Paramount, NAI and Skydance had been expected to step up the pace of their conversations this month after private equity giant Apollo Global Management late last month fielded an offer for the Paramount Pictures film studio alone that was said to be valued at $11 billion. It’s no secret that Redstone would prefer for the company’s major film and TV assets to stay largely intact in a sale — to maximize the value and also protect the legacy of the media empire that her father, the late Sumner Redstone, assembled in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s.

Paramount’s conversations with Skydance have been held on and off since as least last November. The uncertainty around the company’s future is becoming a handicap for Paramount as it looks to cut deals with creative talent and other business partners. It’s also taken a toll on Paramount’s stock price, which closed Tuesday at $11.76, giving the company a market cap of $8 billion. Shares rose slightly in after-hours trading on the heels of the Times report.

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