Skydance Media, the production company behind hits like Top Gun: Maverick, has reportedly made a preliminary offer to acquire Paramount Global’s parent company National Amusements in a deal worth over $10 billion. If successful, the deal would take Paramount private and give Skydance CEO David Ellison significant control over the storied Hollywood studio behind franchises like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Transformers.
Skydance Seeks Controlling Stake in Paramount and ViacomCBS Brands
According to sources cited by Bloomberg, Ellison has proposed acquiring the controlling 80% stake in National Amusements currently held by Shari Redstone and her family. This would give Skydance oversight of Paramount Global’s film studio and television assets such as CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, and more.
While talks are still in early stages, analysts say the deal would instantly transform Skydance into a media powerhouse on the scale of Disney or Netflix. It would also cap years of behind-the-scenes tension between Redstone and former Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos over the studio’s direction. Ellison, who maintains a close business relationship with Redstone, could be uniquely positioned to strike an acquisition deal.
“This would put Ellison firmly in the Hollywood big leagues,” said Matthew Belloni, former editorial director at The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s always had ambitious plans to turn Skydance into a multimedia property giant. By taking over Paramount, he would control one of the most historic and prestigious studios in the business overnight.”
Ellison Brings Deep Pockets to Potential Media Mega-Deal
As the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, David Ellison has access to immense family wealth that could finance taking Paramount Global private. He founded Skydance Media in 2010 and has focused its operations around blockbuster films and TV shows, leveraging partnerships with Paramount, Netflix and Amazon.
The company scored a major hit last year by co-producing Top Gun: Maverick, which grossed $1.4 billion globally. Skydance has several Paramount releases slated for 2024, including the new Star Trek film, an original sci-fi property called The Family Plan, and an untitled spy franchise.
Analysts estimate an acquisition of Paramount Global could cost upwards of $12 billion given the company’s extensive content library and intellectual property. Ellison would likely partner with private equity firms to finance such a deal. According to Bloomberg, Apollo Global Management has also explored teaming with Ellison on an offer.
Potential Valuation in Paramount Acquisition
|Paramount Filmed Entertainment Library
|CBS and Cable Networks
|Paramount+ Streaming Service
“Ellison clearly has the funds and Hollywood bonafides to pull this off,” said Mike Hopkins, former chairman of Sony Pictures Television. “The question is if Shari Redstone will give up the family’s legacy without a fight. She squashed a potential deal with Apple in 2018 to maintain control. But every company has its price.”
What Comes Next: Hurdles Remain But Momentum Building
Despite Ellison’s apparent interest, a Paramount deal still faces serious obstacles before becoming reality. Redstone could demand a higher valuation given National Amusement’s controlling position in ViacomCBS. Her family also owns movie theater chain National Amusements, which further complicates any negotiations.
Nonetheless, conditions may be ripe for a deal as Paramount rebuilds under new CEO Bob Bakish after years of underperformance. The studio holds valuable IP and saw strong growth in 2023 from hits like Top Gun and Smile. With streaming wars intensifying pressure on legacy media to consolidate, analysts say Paramount’s days as an independent company could be numbered.
A Skydance-Paramount pact has obvious industrial logic by uniting Ellison’s prolific production company with the global distribution of an iconic major studio. Together, they would wield the creative assets and business scale to take on Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal. Rival suitors like Apple or Sony could still emerge, but Bloomberg reports Apollo has already started conducting due diligence for an Ellison tie-up.
Sources close to Skydance say Ellison has been waiting years for the right opening to pounce on Paramount. By aligning himself with the Redstone family early on, he now appears ready to make his long-rumored media power play – one that could reshape Hollywood’s competitive landscape for decades to come.
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