Bronfman Eyes $2.5B Bid for Paramount Amid Competition

Bronfman Jr. eyes $2-$2.5 billion bid for Paramount, competing with Skydance's endorsed offer amid Redstone's deliberations.

By Alex P. Chase

6/10, 15:55 EDT, Inc.
Walt Disney Company
Netflix, Inc.
Paramount Global

Key Takeaway

  • Edgar Bronfman Jr, backed by Bain, is considering a $2-$2.5 billion bid for National Amusements to gain control of Paramount.
  • David Ellison’s Skydance Media has submitted an endorsed offer for Paramount, but Shari Redstone remains undecided on the deal.
  • Wall Street doubts Paramount's standalone viability against streaming giants like Netflix and Disney, adding uncertainty for its 20,000 employees.

Bronfman Eyes Paramount

Edgar Bronfman Jr has emerged as the latest billionaire interested in acquiring Paramount, with a potential bid for National Amusements, the holding company through which Shari Redstone controls the film and TV group. According to sources familiar with the matter, Bronfman has the backing of private equity group Bain and is considering a bid in the range of $2 billion to $2.5 billion. This move would mark Bronfman's return to the media industry, having previously chaired Warner Music and controlled Universal Studios and PolyGram through Seagram before selling to Vivendi in 2000.

However, Redstone has been in discussions with David Ellison’s Skydance Media for a complex deal that would transfer control of Paramount to Ellison, the son of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. After six months of negotiations, Skydance recently submitted a new offer that was endorsed by Paramount’s special committee of advisers and board members. Redstone, who holds about 80% of Paramount through voting stock, has been reviewing this offer for over a week but has yet to make a final decision. She is also considering alternatives, such as selling only National Amusements or not proceeding with any deal at all.

Paramount's Uncertain Future

Paramount, known for iconic films like Titanic and The Godfather, has been significantly impacted by the shift to streaming. Wall Street remains skeptical about Paramount's ability to compete as a standalone entity against larger streaming giants like Netflix, Disney, and Amazon. The company's staff of over 20,000 are left in a state of uncertainty as Redstone deliberates on the future direction.

Bronfman’s interest, backed by Bain, adds another layer of complexity to the situation. The potential bid would require weeks of due diligence before any transaction could be finalized. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Bronfman’s interest in the deal.

Skydance's Endorsed Offer

Skydance Media, led by David Ellison, has been in talks with Redstone for a deal that would see Paramount handed over to Ellison. The special committee of advisers and board members at Paramount has endorsed Skydance’s latest offer, which appeared to be a breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations. Despite this endorsement, Redstone has been hesitant and is exploring other options, including the possibility of selling only National Amusements or not proceeding with any deal at all.

The prolonged negotiations and multiple potential outcomes have left Paramount’s employees and stakeholders in a state of limbo. The company’s future remains uncertain as Redstone weighs her options.