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Paramount Boss Makes Joke About Skydance Deal At CinemaCon

What do you do when your conglom might be a target for a takeover. Don’t sweat it and laugh.

As Skydance remains in talks with Paramount Global’s majority shareholder National Amusements to take control of the studio Paramount Pictures CEO Brian Robbins made light of sales talks before exhibitors at CinemaCon in Las Vegas saying “My colleague Chris Aronson is also raising money to make a bid for the studio; he has a Kickstarter…I don’t know how corporate will feel.”

Flashed behind Robbins on the screen was a fake news report about Paramount’s domestic distribution president Aronson with a cardboard sign that read “Anything helps” in a plea for donations.

Paramount is currently in an exclusive 30-day negotiating window with Skydance Media for a deal that’s favored by Shari Redstone but getting tons of blowback from other shareholders. 

Despite’s Paramount financial producing partner David Ellison’s eye on the Melrose Lot, the studio isn’t slowing down announcing a string of projects this AM including a Trey Parker-Matt Stone original live-action comedy, a G.I. Joe Transformers crossover, an R-rated live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, as well as Glen Powell starring in a reboot of The Running Man.

“Now, you’ve asked for more films in your theatres, and we have heard that call, so before we show you the rest of this year’s slate, I want to give you a little glimpse of what we’ve got for you in 2025 and 2026,” exclaimed Robbins.

More comedy flew earlier in the Paramount session: Aronson is known for his flamboyant, stunt-driven entrances at CinemaCon. He entered the Colosseum at Caesars Palace led by any army of Gladiators pulling him in a chariot as the distribution boss waved a sword. Classic Aronson.

Skydance is reportedly offering $2 billion to buy out Redstone’s stake in NAI, the family holding company that owns most of Paramount’s super-voting shares although most of the actual equity is held by other investors. 

Ellison, backed by his deep pocketed father and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and others, would then have Paramount acquire Skydance in a separate all stock-deal said to be worth $5 billion. He could also give indebted Par a cash infusion.

The terms are as per the WSJ and could change but they’ve infuriating holders of the common stock who see a big payday for Redstone and zilch for everyone else. They’ve been writing letters, threatening litigation and hoping that Apollo gets more aggressive in its reported $26 billion offer. 

Industry lovers might prefer to see the storied Paramount studio and lot in the hands of an entertainment enterprise that truly values it. 

Meanwhile, a handful of Paramount board members are said to be stepping down.

The company’s financial woes put it in play last year and there will be much more to come.

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