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James Cameron and Ari Emanuel back Skydance bid for Paramount

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Two of Hollywood’s biggest names have thrown their support behind Skydance’s bid for Paramount, aiming to fend off a rival approach from Sony and Apollo.

James Cameron, whose film Titanic is the biggest hit in Paramount’s history, and Endeavor chief executive Ari Emanuel told the Financial Times that they believed Skydance founder David Ellison could revive the struggling company.

“I love Ellison’s idea,” Cameron said in an interview. “If he gets it. . . To lead Paramount creatively, this could be a huge boon for this company during these difficult times. David has proven himself.

Emanuel, a Hollywood “superagent” and chief executive of the company that owns talent agency WME and controls the TKO Group, said Ellison was “a natural acquirer” of the company.

“David has a real movie business (with) big franchises,” he said. “Everyone does business with him: Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Paramount and Disney all have good relationships with David.”

Ellison, son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, launched Skydance in 2010 and has directed a number of blockbusters, including Top Gun: Maverick that Paramount released.

Backed by private equity groups RedBird and KKR, Ellison is pursuing a two-step deal. First, he would pay $2 billion for National Amusements, which houses the majority of voting shares controlled by Shari Redstone. Paramount would then acquire Skydance for $5 billion in a stock transaction.

Paramount is among Hollywood’s most storied companies, but it has struggled to compete in a brutal streaming battle that has upended the entertainment industry.

Paramount is controlled by Redstone’s National Amusements, a family-owned company that began as a chain of New England movie theaters in the 1930s. NAI controls nearly 80 percent of Paramount’s voting stock, but only owns approximately 10 percent of its equity.

Cameron and Emanuel’s endorsements come at a precarious time for Ellison’s candidacy.

Skydance was in exclusive negotiations with Paramount, but that window expired Friday without a deal. A special committee appointed by Paramount’s board of directors, responsible for evaluating the group’s options, can however continue to evaluate the offer. Sources close to the offer told the FT that Ellison was prepared to step down, although there was no immediate indication to suggest he was preparing to do so.

The end of the exclusivity window came just a day after Sony and private equity group Apollo submitted a $26 billion bid for Paramount.

In Hollywood, there are concerns that an acquisition of Paramount by Apollo-Sony could reduce the number of major studios, leading to job cuts and potentially calling into question the future of the famous Paramount studio on Melrose Avenue.

But some Paramount investors told the FT they preferred Apollo’s approach, believing it would deliver a better premium to ordinary shareholders.

This weekend, Warren Buffett revealed that he sold his entire stake in Paramount at a loss. Buffett’s $2.6 billion investment in 2022 was seen as a bullish sign for Paramount, but shares have fallen more than 60% since Berkshire first disclosed its stake.

“I think I’m smarter now than I was a year or two ago, but I also think I’m poorer because I acquired the knowledge the way I did,” Buffett said , referring to his understanding of the entertainment business. “We lost money on Paramount and I did it alone.”

Emanuel said Ellison, who is 41, has “a fire in the belly” that could help turn the company around.

“I don’t want to disparage anyone, but I think (Paramount) needs a little new energy. I think he will bring that,” he said. “I think he will be an incredible additional partner for Shari in this situation.”

Cameron said he worked as a behind-the-scenes advisor to Ellison during Skydance’s production. Genisys Terminatora sequel to his 1984 classic Terminator. “I was skeptical about the baby trust fund, you know, daddy’s money,” he said. “Yes, he had the resources, but he was also the right person to be able to command those resources.”

He added: “I wouldn’t hesitate to work with him on a project. . . and we are preparing some things.

News Source : www.ft.com
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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe.Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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