Paramount/Skydance Deal Officially Dead; Yet Another Bidder Emerges

As of a week ago, the months-long talks for Skydance Media to takeover Paramount Global seemed to be faltering at the finish line… and now they are over. The saga of the sale of the company that controls Star Trek continues and now another group has entered the arena.

It’s over for Skydance

The Skydance Media plan to takeover Paramount was a two-step process, beginning with buying out NAI, the holding company of Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global and owner of the majority of voting stock. Today NAI confirmed the reports that talks had ended in a statement (via Deadline), saying the company was “not been able to reach mutually acceptable terms regarding the potential transaction with Skydance Media for the acquisition of a controlling stake in NAI.”

It’s not clear what was the final nail in the coffin, but as of last week it was reported that Redstone was not happy with the latest version of the Skydance deal over a reduced buyout of her holdings and she was also concerned over potential shareholder lawsuits. Today’s announcement comes after reports from this morning that the Paramount Global board was set to vote on the Skydance deal, with at least one board member planning on opposing it.

Yet another bidder…

Redstone is now reportedly looking to sell NAI on its own, without any attempt to merge Paramount with another company. And Edgar Bronfman Jr., the chairman of the sports-centric FuboTV, has joined the party. The former Seagrams and Warner Music Group CEO has put together a bid for NAI with the backing of Bain Capital according to multiple outlets. The deal calls for buying out Redstone’s NAI for $2 – $2.5 billion giving him effective control of Paramount Global. Like with the bid being put together by producer Steven Paul which we reported last week, there would not be a second-step merger like with the Skydance deal, so Redstone would not have to worry about shareholder lawsuits as Paramount Global stock would not be involved.

It is unclear what plans Bronfman has for Paramount Global if he gets control of Redstone’s voting stock. This bid could be related to the recently announced partnership between Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery to form a new streaming sports venture. Fubo has already launched a lawsuit alleging that the deal violates anti-trust laws. Bronfman may be looking to CBS and the NFL and other sports rights it holds as a way to counter the potential competition from the new Disney/Warner/Fox sports streamer.

The Sony/Apollo deal continues to be active with due diligence ongoing, moving away from a plan to take over all of Paramount Global, focusing just on Paramount Pictures. Bloomberg is now reporting they are “rethinking their approach.” There is also a bid from Byron Allen whose media company holdings include The Weather Channel. He seems primarily interested in Paramount’s cable assets. There has also been reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery is interested in acquiring CBS (and those sports rights). Now that Skydance Media is out of the picture, the other bidders seem primarily interested in different assets from within Paramount Global.

Going it alone

As noted in our last update, it’s possible Redstone has decided that she can try to take Paramount forward without any of these potential deals. A new strategy was announced at last week’s shareholder meeting outlining $500 million in non-content cost cutting (likely via layoffs), finding a joint venture for Paramount+ as well as selling off non-strategic assets (like BET).

The NAI statement today indicates this may where things are going:

“NAI supports the recently announced strategic plan being executed by Paramount’s Office of the CEO as well as their ongoing work and that of the Company’s Board of Directors to continue to explore opportunities to drive value creation for all Paramount shareholders.”

Once again the future of the company that holds the future of Star Trek in its hands remains still in flux. There was some optimism that the Skydance deal would be good for the franchise as they had plans to keep Paramount+ (home of Star Trek TV) around, and the company already had a relationship with the recent Star Trek movies, with CEO David Ellison credited as an executive producer on both Into Darkness and Beyond.

As always, TrekMovie will report on the latest in business news that impacts the franchise.

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Bain Capital? Known throughout the galaxy as “the company’s graveyard.” Better to kill them now and get it over with.

I see what you did there. Well done. :)

Calling it now, Tubi will be the new Trek overlords in a years time. 😉

I could imagine Tubi being America’s new exclusive home for a future Star Trek show.

Honestly, I wouldn’t hate that. Tubi is my favorite streaming service. It knows exactly what it is and it celebrates the absurdity of its streaming library and doesn’t stumble over itself trying to produce ‘prestige’ material. It’s just a place where ridiculous things are free. Tubi or not Tubi? That is the question!

Of cor crying out loud.

To be fair, I want two things: The Paramount lot in Hollywood to still be around, and new Star Trek continuing to be produced in a way that is true to Trek and reels in new audiences. Cherry on top for Trek to be filmed/produced on the lot. Anything else I don’t care too much about.
(Well, I also want Trek merch licensing to work smoothly – and us in Europe getting it for our Trade Post 47 store – but I’d see that as part of Trek continuing to be produced.)

They’re lining up to carve up the turkey….

Agree. It wouldn’t surprise me Paramont ends up being liquidated with Trek and all its other IP being sold off.

Someone else owning Star Trek might be for the best at this point.

Honestly, I agree. Let someone else give Trek a shot.

Just sell Star Trek to Disney. At least they will know how to captialize off it. Probably make a separate park for it at Disney World and make exclusive shows on Disney Plus and Hulu. Just imagine Star Trek on ABC.

Because the over saturation of Star Wars and Marvel has been so great and most of the Disney+ shows haven’t been the definition of mid? You’d want to see Star Trek become a cog in their machine all for the sake of getting to pay hundreds of dollars at a theme park or more toys?

Just imagine Star Trek on CBS, the actual number 1 network. It would get cancelled and shunted right back to streaming.

I’m sorry, but this is shortsighted thinking, and you have to consider what another owner would -really- do. We have gotten six diverse new series and a tv movie made or greenlit in 7 years. I don’t love them all and wish we’d had another movie, but I know the grass is not greener on the other side and I’m grateful for what we’ve gotten.

Adding another scifi IP to the Disney portfolio is something no one in Disney is talking about.

I don’t know about that. Doctor Who isn’t exactly breaking records at Disney+.

Doctor Who is even more niche than Trek and a co-production Disney doesn’t foot the whole bill for. But it has a solid international following, so it’s actually a decent comparison. I’d love to know more about how well it is doing for Disney. Their marketing push has been about on par with what the BBC/BBC America did with it previously whenever a new Doctor came along.

Disney would probably give Seth Macfarlane the opportunity to be the show-runner of his own Trek series since the Orville won’t be going anywhere with a Disney-owned Trek, or even Executive Producer if Alex Kurtzman bails.

Couldn’t do a worse job

Agree, I’d like Amazon or Apple to make Trek Great Again!

Amazon’s track record isn’t great either. For every The Boys and Fallout, there’s a Citadel or Rings of Power. They saved The Expanse but barely gave them enough resources to rush through season 6, and have cancelled many sci-fi shows. Then there’s the moral dilemma which weighs on my mind at least – this is not a company that stands for anything good.

Apple isn’t much better – they have some good standards for quality and keep consumer data private but are exploiting it pretty heavily themselves. They make beautiful products but you don’t want to scratch the surface too hard on the labor conditions that get them produced. I appreciate their streaming output and actually do think their slightly sanitized ethos is a good fit for Trek, but once again I still say Star Trek is better off under the purview of Hollywood executives, not at the whims of Silicon Valley ones.

Bezos is a Trek fan though.

He’s reduced his involvement at Amazon a lot over the years.

Trek, like America, has been great for a long time now….

Yeah let’s use a slogan from a grifter piece of trash

Shari Redstone is ridiculous.

That Strain looking woman is just money hungry. I feel sorry for the employees that will lose jobs over this.

Employees would lose their jobs in a merger too. Skydance isn’t made of money so they’d have been critical of the balance sheet too in short order. What Paramount needs is an angel investor, basically, who can absorb its debt without any qualms, and is interested in growing and honing the media hodgepodge it controls. That describes very few companies, hence even the more sentimental of us just hoping to settle for Paramount Pictures not getting absorbed by another studio or someone who will gut it like Bain.

Five years ago shares of Paramount Global were trading around $50 a share. Today, they are worth about $11. She’s not going to be anywhere near breaking even on this then the deal is done. When Warren Buffet got out, he admitted it was an expensive lesson learned.

Paramount Global is shedding more jobs. It happens to failed companies. It sucks, but if any business isn’t profitable, it’s going to fail. There isn’t an obligation by anyone to prop it up for sentimental sake .

Just sell Star Trek to Disney. At least they will know how to captialize off it. Probably make a separate park for it at Disney World and make exclusive shows on Disney Plus and Hulu. Just imagine Star Trek on ABC.

Maybe we will get a Star Trek theme park that way too.

I’ve said my anti-Disney rants already, so I’ll spare you that.

I’m genuinely curious about how viable a Star Trek theme park really is though. I assume you are proposing something like Harry Potter World or Star Wars Galaxy that gets added to Disney properties?

I have serious doubts that Star Trek fandom is the right size/demographic to sustain the overhead of such a venture. The Star Trek Experience did okay, it made enough money to justify the Borg 4D ride, but it never got remounted after its closure. Trek fandom skews older than Star Wars and Harry Potter, but I don’t have any data on the demos. I seriously doubt a lot of kiddos watched Discovery or Picard, so we’re targeting the Disney Adult niche crowd, on top of the Star Trek niche, which is sizable, but I question if it’s enough to sustain more than one ride or something the size of the Experience or smaller.

Paramount Parks was obviously never a big force to be reckoned with, but I’m not sure that’s the only reason we’ve never gotten a proper Trek themed experience beyond the one in Vegas.

That’s not gonna happen, either.

Disney doesn’t want, or need Paramount.

Like most commenters on here wouldn’t be taking a dump on anything Disney made of Star Trek.

It’s dead, Jim!!

Extremely unlikely to happen, but I’d love if Apple stepped in and bought the rights to just Star Trek. They’ve proven quite adept at producing (and supporting) some excellent sci-fi shows since the inception of AppleTV+ (standouts include Foundation, Severance, Dark Matter, Silo, and For All Mankind), and they’ve got super, super deep pockets.