Entertainment giant Paramount agrees to a merger with Skydance


NEW YORK (AP) — Entertainment giant Paramount, which owns CBS and was behind blockbuster films such as “Top Gun” and “The Godfather” has agreed to merge with Skydance, the companies said.

The new combined company is valued at around $28 billion.

“Given the changes in the industry, we want to fortify Paramount for the future while ensuring that content remains king,” said Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global.

Redstone’s National Amusements owns more than three-quarters of Paramount’s Class A voting shares though the estate of her late father, Sumner Redstone, according to data firm FactSet. Shari Redstone had battled to keep control of the company.

Skydance, based in Santa Monica, California, has helped produce some major Paramount hits in recent years. Those include several Tom Cruise films including “Top Gun: Maverick” and installments of the “Mission Impossible” series.

Skydance was founded in 2010 by David Ellison, son of billionaire Larry Ellison, the founder of the software company Oracle. It quickly formed a production partnership with Paramount that same year.

David Ellison will be chairman and chief executive officer of what’s being called New Paramount. The agreement still needs regulatory approval.

The on-again, off-again merger arrives at tumultuous time for Paramount, which in an annual shareholder meeting in early June laid out a restructuring plan that includes major cost cuts. The company also saw a leadership shakeup earlier this year.

Paramount has struggled in an evolving media landscape, particularly as its traditional cable business has declined. To capture today’s growing streaming audience, the company launched Paramount+ back in 2021, but losses and debts have still piled up over time.

Sumner Redstone used National Amusements, his family’s movie theater chain, to build a vast media empire that included CBS and Viacom, which have merged and separated a number of times over the years. Most recently, the companies re-joined forces in 2019, undoing the split consummated in 2006. The company, ViacomCBS, changed its name to Paramount Global in 2022.

Under Sumner Redstone’s leadership, Viacom became one of the nation’s media titans, home to pay TV channels MTV and Comedy Central and movie studio Paramount Pictures.

Skydance wasn’t the only one to make a Paramount bid in recent months — Apollo Global Management and Sony Pictures also made competing offers. Late last year, Warner Bros. Discovery also made headlines for exploring a potential merger with Paramount. But by February, Warner had reportedly halted those talks.

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