Paramount’s Chief Executive Bob Bakish Could Be Out Next Week

Paramount is preparing to announce the departure of its chief executive, Bob Bakish, as soon as next week, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, a sudden development that would come even as company is exploring a merger.

Mr. Bakish’s impending departure is a result of his worsening relationship with Shari Redstone, the company’s controlling shareholder, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a sensitive matter. Ms. Redstone grew frustrated with what she saw as his inability to get important deals across the finish line, including a sale of the Showtime and BET cable channels, the people said.

The company is in talks to merge with Skydance, a media company controlled by the tech scion and Hollywood producer David Ellison. It is also negotiating a lucrative deal to keep channels like Nickelodeon and MTV on the Charter cable system.

Paramount declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Paramount’s board was considering replacing Mr. Bakish.

Paramount is deep in talks with Skydance to shape what would be a complex deal. Ms. Redstone controls Paramount through a company called National Amusements, and she has already signed off on a potential deal. But Paramount’s special committee, a group of directors evaluating the deal, must also sign off.

That structure, along with the fact that the private equity firm Apollo Global Management has been talking about partnering with Sony in an alternative all-cash bid, has led to objections to a sale by some shareholders.

A 30-day period of exclusive talks between the two sides is set to expire in early May.

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