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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Skydance Boss David Ellison Set Sights on Building Up His Studio Post Paramount


This just in tonight from Skydance Boss David Ellison as Paramount Global controlling shareholder Shari Redstone says “No” to Skydance’s offer to buy National Amusements. The Top Gun: Maverick and Geostorm producer has acknowledged to staff that Skydance’s bid to merge with Paramount has ended.

However, “we are stronger because of this process,” says the son of Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison.

David promises staff that Skydance, armed with more TV products in the company’s history, is “more confident than ever—not just about Skydance but about the future of entertainment and our ability to continue building a next-generation content company on our terms, with the greatest capital, creative and technological resources and talent in the industry.”

As Jill and I told you today, there are various reasons why this Skydance-Paramount Global merger didn’t shake out, read seeking consent for the deal from a “majority of the minority” of shareholders not named Redstone. Redstone wanted to, Ellison didn’t want to, we understand. Paramount Global didn’t have faith in Skydance’s financials, the deal calling for the Ellison studio to pay Redstone $2.25 billion outright for NAI and then merge with Paramount in a deal that valued Skydance at $4.75 billion. Also, neither side could see eye to eye on how Skydance would operate the company through the regulatory process.

In the near future, Redstone will mull offers from  Edgar Bronfman Jr. with Bain and producer Steven Paul. Sony is a longshot. She will entrust the studio and network ops to the office of the co-CEOs Brian Robbins, George Cheeks, and Chris McCarthy, who’ll vie to shave debt, unload non-core assets, capitalize on content, and find a joint venture partner for streaming service Paramount+.

You can read Ellison’s note to the staff below:

From: David Ellison
Date: June 11, 2024 at 7:13:07 PM PDT
To: All Skydance
Subject: Thank You


Team,

As you all know, for the last several months we have been actively exploring a transaction to acquire NAI and merge with Paramount Global, and today that chapter ended.

While I was focused on this effort, you all doubled down on Skydance. In just a short time since we went back to work after a historic two guild strike, you have delivered more TV product in our company’s history, hit video game franchises, Emmy-winning sports content, and a feature film slate that is our industry’s finest. For all of this and more, I thank you.

Skydance is stronger than ever because of you, and we are stronger because of this process. For starters, we are smarter. We know more about our business, our potential, and the marketplace at large. We are more confident than ever – not just about Skydance but about the future of entertainment and our ability to continue building a next generation content company on our terms, with the greatest capital, creative and technological resources and talent in the industry. The bottom line: our future is incredibly bright and tomorrow we will keep building to make it even better.

Paramount will always hold a special place for me, we had our first slate deal with the studio and continue to co-own several marquee franchises together. I have great respect for the legacy of Paramount, value our ongoing partnership and wish them the best.

Finally, again, I want to thank each of you for your patience and support as we chart the next phase of Skydance. We have a lot to look forward to.

Best,

David Ellison
Chief Executive Officer, Skydance Media

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