Paramount’s Deal With Skydance Falls Apart

Skydance’s merger talks with Paramount were called off Tuesday after the two sides failed to agree on terms, according to two people with knowledge of the talks, scuttling a deal that has captivated Hollywood for months.

The suspended negotiations derail attempts to unite Paramount — the parent company of CBS, MTV and Nickelodeon — with Skydance, the up-and-coming movie studio behind “Top Gun: Maverick.”

There were several hitches in the last week as Skydance, Paramount and its parent company, National Amusements, reached the final stages of negotiations. Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder, wanted Skydance to agree to provide some legal protection for the deal in case investors filed a lawsuit. A committee of Paramount’s board members evaluating the plan also fired a public relations firm that it had been using.

One sign of the tension emanating from both sides of the deal was the sheer length of negotiations. The talks — with National Amusements, Paramount and National Amusements again — stretched from late last year until this week, and were also rife with leaks, never a sign of harmonious negotiations.

“Sometimes the game ends with a goal-line stand,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst for LightShed Partners.

It’s unclear what the future holds for Paramount. The company was exploring a deal amid gale-force headwinds to the traditional media industry, including the demise of traditional television, a problem that is only likely to worsen. The company’s share price has fallen precipitously in recent years, as investors grew increasingly critical of the company’s prospects.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported talks between Skydance and National Amusements had fallen apart.

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