Does Paramount Global Finally Have a Deal?

Published on

One of the longest-running dramas on the stock market this year has been the fate of media and entertainment stock Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA).

The struggling company, which owns Paramount Pictures, CBS, MTV, and Paramount+, among other properties, has been the subject of merger talks for months and linked to various potential partners.

Things got real, or so we thought, when Paramount and Skydance Media established an exclusive 30-day negotiating window in early April. However, the 30 days passed without an agreement, and it looked as if the Skydance deal might not happen, as other suitors came back into the picture.

However, on Monday, there were widespread reports from various outlets, including CNBC and The Wall Street Journal, that a deal had been struck. Neither company had confirmed an agreement as of Monday afternoon, but Paramount stock had soared some 9% on the news.

What the deal looks like

According to CNBC and other outlets, the deal calls for David Ellison’s Skydance Media to buy National Amusements, the holding company owned by Shari Redstone that’s the controlling shareholder of Paramount, for $2 billion.

Skydance, a film and TV production company, along with private-equity partners Redbird Capital and KKR, will also reportedly purchase nearly 50% of Paramount’s shares at $15 apiece, totaling $4.5 billion. The deal also reportedly has the group contributing $1.5 billion to reduce Paramount’s debt.

Valued at $8 billion, the deal would leave Skydance and its partners with two-thirds of Paramount Global shares and a controlling interest in the company. Meanwhile, class B shareholders would own the other third.

CNBC reported that a special committee at Paramount had agreed to the terms with Skydance, but it still had not been signed off on yet by Redstone and National Amusements.

However, according to multiple sources, Redstone had long preferred the Skydance partnership because the offer they put forth kept Paramount largely intact. Other offers reportedly sought to slice the company up into pieces.

Paramount is set to hold its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, so look for news or an announcement then — unless one doesn’t come sooner.

What the deal means for Paramount stock

This had not been a done deal as of Monday afternoon, but most reports suggest it is inevitable. It looks like a fairly good deal for Paramount, as it surpassed the previous Skydance offer of roughly $5 billion.

In this deal, Redstone and National Amusements will get more money, and shareholders will receive $15 per share, as opposed to $11 per share in the last offer. The $15-per-share offer is a 16% premium over the current share price of $12.94 per share.

Analysts were generally bullish on the deal. Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall wrote in a research note that it looks like “a compelling opportunity for Shari Redstone to sell to Skydance, make everyone reasonably happy and maintain the Paramount legacy.”

Wells Fargo has a price target of $14 per share for Paramount. However, the median price target among the analysts who cover the stock is $12 per share, which is 7% lower than its current price.

Investors should be in wait-and-see mode until more details about the deal and what the new company will look like are released. The struggling streaming business and a lackluster year at the box office for movies in general present additional challenges for Paramount.