Finance

Skydance Offers Paramount a Deal Sweetener: A $3 Billion Cash Infusion

With the fate of Paramount hanging in the balance, its leading suitor has just upped the ante.

Skydance, which has been in talks to merge with Paramount for months, in recent days offered to provide the combined company with a $3 billion cash infusion that it can use to pay down debt and buy back stock, according to two people with knowledge of the proposal.

The revised bid is aimed at assuaging investors who have come out against the deal in recent weeks, saying it would enrich Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder, at the expense of other investors.

Paramount has been in deal discussions with the movie studio Skydance for months, after Ms. Redstone decided late last year to consider a sale for her media empire. Since then, the company has entertained interest from suitors including Apollo, the private-equity giant, and Skydance, which is proposing a merger.

Skydance is proposing to buy Paramount shareholders’ stock at a premium in hopes of further placating investors, one of the people said. Ms. Redstone was already set to get a premium for her shares, because of her controlling stake. Under one scenario under discussion, Skydance could ask Ms. Redstone take less cash as part of the deal, and keep more of her equity in Paramount.

The terms of the new deal would provide Paramount shareholders with a $3 billion investment from RedBird, one of Skydance’s biggest backers, and the family of David Ellison, Skydance’s chief executive and a son of Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle. Skydance, a media company founded by the younger Ellison, already has a relationship with Paramount, having helped produce hits like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning.”

Paramount declined to comment.

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