Paramount Global and its parent company, National Amusements, has a new suitor.
Skydance Media CEO David Ellison has made a preliminary bid to buy National Amusements, which owns a controlling stake in the media company, according to Bloomberg. Ellison, the son of billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, is also in talks with merging Skydance Media with Paramount after he takes control. The report said that both sides have hired advisors and are exchanging financial information.
A spokesperson for Skydance Media wasn’t immediately available for comment. Spokespeople for Paramount and National Amusements declined to comment.
The Skydance bid marks a swerve for Paramount, which had already been at the center of merger chatter after reports emerged that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with Paramount CEO Bob Bakish to talk about a potential deal. One potential aspect of that deal was the idea of merging Max and Paramount+ into a single service. The discussion set off a fair amount of hand-wringing with concerns that the further consolidation of big media studios would lead to lower quality shows and movies down the line.
Skydance isn’t a major studio, but it has had its hands some major films that it co-produced and co-financed with Paramount. The biggest titles include Top Gun: Maverick, the top-grossing film of 2022, and last year’s Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
Beyond films, Skydance has expanded to include producing VR games, animations, television shows, and scripted and un-scripted sports-related programming.
Paramount, meanwhile, owns CBS, an array of cable networks such as Showtime, MTV and Comedy Central, a movie and television studio and its Paramount+ streaming service.
A decision on whether to sell would rest with Shari Redstone, whose family controls Paramount through National Amusements, a privately held movie theater chain and holding company. Redstone, who took control after her father, Sumner, died in 2020, has been reluctant to part with Paramount Pictures because it’s seen as one of Hollywood’s most prestigious studios, Reuters reported.