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Shari Redstone Considers Skydance Deal to Buy Paramount

Shari Redstone Considers Skydance Deal to Buy Paramount

The future of Paramount may be decided in the next couple days, with the ball now in controlling shareholder Shari Redstone’s court.

With the company set to hold its annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, Paramount’s board and the buyer consortium led Skydance and RedBird Capital have come to terms on a revised deal for the company. Now it is up to Redstone to approve the deal and move forward, or look at other options.

Because Redstone’s National Amusements was recused from the board talks, it is just beginning to review the proposal.

“We received the financial terms of the proposed Paramount/Skydance transaction over the weekend and we are reviewing them,” a spokesperson for NAI said.

Paramount is effectively controlled by Redstone and her National Amusements, which holds more than 70 percent of Class A voting shares.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously wrote last week, the new deal is sweetened from the previous offer. As CNBC’s David Faber first reported, the new offer would see Skydance acquire National Amusements for $2 billion. Skydance would also offer to buy out about 50 percent of the class B shareholders at $15, a premium over the closing price, and would add $1.5 billion to Paramount’s balance sheet.

The deal was meant to assuage the concerns of non-voting shareholders who had expressed discontent about the deal, particularly with another consortium led by Apollo and Sony also circling the company, reportedly with an all-cash bid.

The original deal on the table would see the Skydance-RedBird consortium acquire National Amusements’ stake in Paramount at a premium (given their voting rights), and then have Paramount acquire Skydance, which would install its own leadership team (led by former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell) and execute its own strategy. The basic strategy appears to be the same, with the cash offer increased.

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If Redstone rejects the revised offer, she could continue to have the triumvirate of Brian Robbins, George Cheeks and Chris McCarthy run the company, look at other deals (like Sony/Apollo), or sell National Amusements outright to someone else and let the buyer figure out what to do with Paramount.

Redstone of course would want to maximize the return on her NAI holdings, but also has expressed a desire to try and keep much of Paramount intact, sources say, given the family legacy of the company created by her father, the mogul Sumner Redstone.

Representatives for Paramount, the independent board committee and Skydance all declined to comment.

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