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Paramount Possibly Being Taken Private

Shares in Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA) hiked Thursday on new developments on the takeover front.

Reports Thursday have David Ellison’s Skydance Media and its financial backers exploring a deal to take private all of the media giant.

Skydance, the film and TV studio run by Ellison, has exchanged preliminary information with Paramount, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deal talks are private. Full due diligence hasn’t started, the people said.

Skydance has been working with private equity firms RedBird Capital Partners and KKR & Co. (NYSE:KKR) on a deal to buy National Amusements, the holding company owned by Shari Redstone. It controls 77% of Paramount’s voting stock.

But that deal is contingent on merging Skydance with Paramount, and the likely structure for a merger would be a complete take private of the larger media company, said the people.
Redstone is considering selling as the media landscape shifts away from traditional TV toward streaming. While Paramount Global has run a profitable business for decades, it is smaller than Netflix, Google’s YouTube, Apple, Amazon, and other larger streamers that have bigger balance sheets to afford sports and entertainment content.

No acquisition is assured, and talks could fall apart. Paramount Global shares rose $1.13, or 8.4% in early trading Thursday.