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Skydance, Ellison, eye all-cash deal for Paramount control

Updated Jan 10, 2024

Larry Ellison. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Skydance Media CEO David Ellison and his backers are in talks for an all-cash bid for Paramount's parent, National Amusements, Axios has confirmed.

Driving the news: Ellison is seeking financial help from Skydance investors — including his father, Larry Ellison — with the intent to buy at least a majority stake in National Amusements (NAI) from Shari Redstone, according to a source.

  • News of the talks was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
  • With majority control of NAI, the group would then merge Paramount Global with Skydance, according to the paper, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • If successful, David Ellison and his backers would control Paramount's cable-television networks, which include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, as its movie theaters.
  • Reps for Paramount, National Amusements and Skydance all declined to comment.

Yes, but: A source cautioned to Axios that the talks were still in the very early stages and no deal is assured.

  • Skydance has yet to do its diligence on Paramount, which is key to any deal, the source added.

Catch up quick: NAI holds about 80% of the voting power (and a 10% financial stake) in Paramount.

  • Any NAI buyer would control the future of Paramount's assets, which also includes its studio, its famed Hollywood lot, streaming services Paramount+ and PlutoTV, a slew of cable networks, and broadcaster CBS.
  • Redstone has so far refused to break up Paramount. A buyer has never materialized for the entire company.

Of note: Axios reported late last month that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish to discuss a possible merger.

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