Redstones, Ellison Seek to Appease Angry Paramount Investors


(Bloomberg) — The Redstone family and independent film producer David Ellison have both offered concessions to make a possible change in control at Paramount Global more appealing to the company’s other investors, according to a person familiar with the talks.

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Ellison is proposing to buy a block of Paramount shares at a premium to their current price to help shore up the company’s finances, according to the person, who asked to not be identified discussing private talks. The Redstones, who own a majority of the company’s voting shares, have agreed to let nonvoting shareholders have a say on whether any transaction should be approved. Both sides are trying to seal a deal in the face of a major shareholder revolt.

The Skydance bid was described by multiple parties as a “best and final offer” on Sunday. Paramount’s board is still undecided about entering a deal with Ellison given the opposition from other investors. In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish is expected to be replaced on an interim basis by a management committee as soon as Monday.

Skydance and Paramount declined to comment.

Ellison, the son of Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, has been in exclusive talks with an independent committee of Paramount directors over a possible transaction. His offer includes buying out the controlling shares of Paramount held by the Redstone family and merging his Skydance Media into the company.

The deal, while never formally announced, faced opposition from a number of shareholders who saw it as a chance for the Redstones to cash out, but one that would dilute the position of nonvoting shareholders who would own less of the company. The class B nonvoting shares have fallen about 19% this year.

Read More: Paramount Shares Take a Hit on Dilution Risk

Paramount, the parent of CBS, MTV and other media businesses, has been struggling with the transition from traditional TV viewing to streaming. The company’s TV channels have seen their advertising revenue fall. The Paramount+ streaming service, while signing up some 67 million subscribers, has continued to lose money.

Several shareholders have urged the company to consider other offers, including negotiating with Apollo Global Management Inc.

(Updates with share performance in sixth paragraph.)

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