You Are Not Serious People

National Amusements, indeed
Paramount’s Merger Talks With Skydance Fall Apart
There were several hitches in the last week as Skydance, Paramount and its parent company, National Amusements, reached the final stages of negotiations.

That on-again/off-again Paramount/Skydance deal? Off-again:

The deal died just as it neared fruition. Right before Paramount’s special committee was to vote on the deal, lawyers for National Amusements emailed the committee to say it was ending the discussions. The email said that though National Amusements and Skydance had come to an agreement on economic terms, they could not agree on outstanding “noneconomic terms,” according to two people familiar with the matter.

In a statement, Paramount’s special committee confirmed that version of events, adding that “it did not vote on any potential transaction.”

It's literally almost an exact scene from Succession. Which is beyond fitting since, while the Murdochs get all the attention as the inspiration for the Roys, there's quite a bit of the Redstones in there well.

There's also just been a general sense of haplessness and tone-deafness:

National Amusements said in a statement that it had not been able to reach “mutually acceptable terms” with Skydance. The statement included a note of cheer that seemed out of place given the deal’s collapse.

“National Amusements is grateful to Skydance for their months of work in pursuing this potential transaction and looks forward to the ongoing, successful production collaboration between Paramount and Skydance,” the statement said.

Skydance had no immediate comment.

And the fun might not stop here!

Ms. Redstone has other options to pursue. National Amusements, the holding company that owns Paramount stock, has received expressions of interest from the media investor Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Steven Paul, the Hollywood executive best known for his work on the “Baby Geniuses” franchise.

Certainly the brains behind Baby Geniuses can outsmart the Roys Redstones by episode 5 next season, right?

Paramount’s quest to sell itself over the last six months has been full of twists and turns worthy of its own season of “Succession.” Since January, the company had come within inches of a deal with Skydance, entertained a separate courting from Apollo Global Management and Sony Pictures Entertainment, replaced its chief executive and winnowed its board to seven directors from 11. The company is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually on its streaming business, which includes the Paramount+ service.

The plan now, it seems will be to try to find a partner for the Paramount+ service. And that sure sounds like either Warner Bros Discovery's Max or Comcast's Peacock. But WBD now finds itself in a more precarious place as well versus when they were clearly telegraphing the intent to take over Paramount. Notably, Paramount+ has no sports. WBD needs sports. So unless the partnership includes CBS (which includes the NFL), we may be getting Paracock/Peamount after all...

Meanwhile, Skydance now moves forward with their partner Paramount on the next Mission: Impossible and Top Gun movies. Not awkward at all.

Time to buzz the Paramount water tower?