May 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The top bidders are awaiting word from the special committee evaluating the options

The top bidders are awaiting word from the special committee evaluating the options

By Don Chmielewski

(Reuters) – A special Paramount Global board committee tasked with evaluating bids for the company met on Saturday morning, though rival bidders for the studio were awaiting word on next steps.

Paramount ended its exclusive negotiations with Skydance Media without reaching an agreement on Friday, allowing the special committee to entertain other offers for the “Mission: Impossible” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” house.

Paramount’s special committee has not yet contacted Sony Pictures Entertainment, which, in cooperation with private equity firm Apollo Global Management, sent a letter on Wednesday expressing interest in acquiring Paramount, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, David Ellison’s Skydance company, which has been engaged for months in deal talks with Paramount and its controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, is evaluating its options, Reuters previously reported.

A spokesman for the Special Committee could not be reached for comment.

Paramount, like other studios, has been struggling to recover from months of strikes by Hollywood writers and actors last year, and from a weak advertising market and declining cable subscriptions in the United States, which eroded the profits of its television business.

Its streaming service, Paramount+, also lags behind competitors like Netflix and Disney+ in subscriber numbers — though Redstone hoped the 2019 merger of CBS and Viacom would help the combined company, later renamed Paramount Global, Compete better.

Paramount shares have fallen more than 65% since then, losing more than $14 billion in market value.

(Reporting by Don Chmielowski in Los Angeles; Editing by Danielle Wallis)