The Future of Paramount’s Media Empire Rests With Who Can Write the Bigger Check
Hollywood’s big studio lots were the backbone of American entertainment for decades — churning out alluring tales that built up stars and transformed American culture. But today, debt and downsizing have cast a shadow over the dream factory, turning it into a place where fantasies go to die.
And not even 63M subscribers can save you from this fate… Just ask Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA), the parent company of CBS, Comedy Central, and America’s fifth-largest streaming service, Paramount+.
Redstone wants out: Traditional cable sales are declining, streaming services are losing money, and the box office is still struggling. With a crushing $15.6B debt load, Paramount’s stock has plummeted by 70% over the past five years — and righting this ship won’t be easy. After a decade of fending off prospective bidders, Paramount Chairman Shari Redstone is looking to sell the embattled media empire:
- Redstone, who inherited the media empire from her father, maintains a 77% stake in the media giant through the holding company National Amusements.
- As the largest shareholder, Redstone is the only thing standing between prospective buyers and the media giant — which could fetch billions.
Who’s in the bidding war?
David Ellison’s Skydance Media has been the most aggressive suitor for Paramount, making a preliminary offer to buy Redstone’s National Amusements last week. Yesterday, Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group made an unexpected $30B bid for the company, a 50% premium over the closing price the day prior. But their visions for Paramount’s future couldn’t be more different:
- Ellison aims to merge Skydance and Paramount, maximizing film, TV, and streaming assets — while shedding unprofitable cable TV.
- Allen leans towards prioritizing TV networks and streaming — selling the Paramount Pictures film studio, unprofitable IP, and real estate assets.
It’s anyone’s game: While reports suggest talks are in an advanced stage, other suitors could bid — maybe even a competitor like Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD). Shareholders have only modestly boosted the $PARA stock price for now, creating the perfect cliffhanger before the finale. And if Logan Roy could offer some advice, he’d probably say, just “take the ****ing money.”