Shares leveled out by afternoon trading as investors digested the news.
According to CNBC, Skydance and financial backers Redbird Capital and KKR are working on a deal to acquire National Amusements, the holding company that houses Paramount and controls the media giant through its class A shares.
Shari Redstone currently serves as the non-executive chairwoman of Paramount Global and president of National Amusements (NAI).
To note, NAI owns approximately 10% of Paramount’s equity capital value and maintains 77% of voting shares — valued at around $1 billion, although that does not account for what could be a “meaningful control premium,” Wells Fargo analyst Steve Cahall wrote in a recent note to clients.
The deal, which is in early stage talks, would be contingent on merging Skydance with Paramount, which would likely take the media company private, according to the report. Of course, it’s possible talks could fall through.
Outside of Skydance, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has also been rumored as a potential buyer. WBD CEO David Zaslav and Paramount CEO Bob Bakish met to discuss a possible merger back in December, Axios first reported.
Both companies declined to comment on the meeting, although Paramount has certainly become the industry’s No. 1 pick for a breakup or merger due to its small size relative to competitors — which has also meant getting passed over by some consumers that only want to pay for so many streamers.
On the heels of the M&A chatter, Paramount announced layoffs in an internal memo on Thursday, citing the need to “operate as a leaner company and spend less.”
“As it has over the past few years, this does mean we will continue to reduce our workforce globally. These decisions are never easy, but are essential on our path to earnings growth,” the memo read. No specific numbers or timeline was provided.
The memo, obtained by Yahoo Finance, also revealed the company will work to drive streaming profitability and maximize content “with the biggest impact” in 2024. That means producing less international content.