Entertainment Giant Paramount Agrees to a Merger with Skydance

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Paramount Pictures studios is pictured in Los Angeles, California, US, September 24, 2023.  REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Paramount Pictures studios is pictured in Los Angeles, California, US, September 24, 2023. REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo
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Entertainment Giant Paramount Agrees to a Merger with Skydance

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Paramount Pictures studios is pictured in Los Angeles, California, US, September 24, 2023.  REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Paramount Pictures studios is pictured in Los Angeles, California, US, September 24, 2023. REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo

Entertainment giant Paramount, which owns CBS and was behind blockbuster films such as “Top Gun" and “The Godfather” has agreed to merge with Skydance, the companies said.
The new combined company is valued at around $28 billion, The Associated Press reported.
“Given the changes in the industry, we want to fortify Paramount for the future while ensuring that content remains king,” said Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global.
Redstone's National Amusements owns more than three-quarters of Paramount’s Class A voting shares though the estate of her late father, Sumner Redstone, according to data firm FactSet. Shari Redstone had battled to keep control of the company.
Skydance, based in Santa Monica, California, has helped produce some major Paramount hits in recent years. Those include several Tom Cruise films including “Top Gun: Maverick” and installments of the “Mission Impossible” series.
Skydance was founded in 2010 by David Ellison, son of billionaire Larry Ellison, the founder of the software company Oracle. It quickly formed a production partnership with Paramount that same year.
David Ellison will be chairman and chief executive officer of what’s being called New Paramount. The agreement still needs regulatory approval.
The on-again, off-again merger arrives at tumultuous time for Paramount, which in an annual shareholder meeting in early June laid out a restructuring plan that includes major cost cuts. The company also saw a leadership shakeup earlier this year.
Paramount has struggled in an evolving media landscape, particularly as its traditional cable business has declined. To capture today’s growing streaming audience, the company launched Paramount+ back in 2021, but losses and debts have still piled up over time.
Sumner Redstone used National Amusements, his family’s movie theater chain, to build a vast media empire that included CBS and Viacom, which have merged and separated a number of times over the years. Most recently, the companies re-joined forces in 2019, undoing the split consummated in 2006. The company, ViacomCBS, changed its name to Paramount Global in 2022.
Under Sumner Redstone’s leadership, Viacom became one of the nation’s media titans, home to pay TV channels MTV and Comedy Central and movie studio Paramount Pictures.
Skydance wasn’t the only one to make a Paramount bid in recent months — Apollo Global Management and Sony Pictures also made competing offers. Late last year, Warner Bros. Discovery also made headlines for exploring a potential merger with Paramount. But by February, Warner had reportedly halted those talks.



Netflix Beats Subscriber Targets, Cautions on Ad Growth

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
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Netflix Beats Subscriber Targets, Cautions on Ad Growth

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Netflix said on Thursday it added more than 8 million subscribers in its second quarter as the streaming service benefited from a password-sharing crackdown and the popularity of such titles as "Bridgerton," "Baby Reindeer" and "The Roast of Tom Brady."
While the subscriber gains topped analyst predictions of 5 million, Netflix issued cautious guidance for the third quarter and said its advertising business would not become a primary driver of revenue growth until at least 2026, said Reuters.
Netflix shares reversed initial losses after it reported results to trade up 1% in after-hours trading. The stock has surged nearly a third so far this year.
"Netflix is still the best and most profitable streaming company out there, but with technology stocks generally retreating over the last several days, some investors may sell on the generally good news and taking profits now while waiting for a possible better re-entry point for the stock," said Michael Ashley Schulman, chief investment officer at Running Point Capital.
The streaming video pioneer is facing saturation in the United States and plans to stop regularly reporting new subscriber additions next year. Investors have been zeroing in on the company's relatively new advertising business as a potential source of growth.
On Thursday, Netflix said third-quarter subscriber gains would be lower than the comparable period in 2023 when it had just started the password clamp-down.
The company also said its vice president of ad sales, Peter Naylor, was departing.
Third Bridge analyst Jamie Lumley said Netflix's advertising business "has yet to prove itself from a revenue standpoint."
"Our experts highlight that Amazon has made a much bigger splash in the ad market and Netflix needs to continue working on scale in this segment if it wants to be a major player," Lumley said.
For April through June, Netflix posted diluted per-share earnings of $4.88, compared with consensus forecasts of $4.74 a share, according to LSEG. Revenue for the quarter reached $9.56 billion, in line with estimates.
At the end of June, the new sign-ups brought the total number of global Netflix subscribers to more than 277 million.
Netflix said its ad tier membership grew 34% from the prior quarter, but it did not say how many subscribers chose that option.
"Our ad business is growing nicely and is becoming a more meaningful contributor to our business," Netflix said in a letter to investors. "But building a business from scratch takes time - and coupled with the large size of our subscription revenue - we don't expect advertising to be a primary driver of our revenue growth in 2024 or 2025."
On a post-earnings video, Netflix Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann said the company's advertising business is "growing nicely," but it is building off a small base.
"It's a meaningful contributor," Neumann said. "And then we get (to) '26 and beyond, it can be even more meaningful, and hopefully comes to the point where it's a primary contributor."
The company said it expects third-quarter revenue growth of 14% compared with a year ago.
Three years into its videogame initiative, Netflix said it planned to release a multiplayer game based on "Squid Game" later this year when it debuts Season Two of the dystopian Korean series. It also plans games tied to "Emily in Paris" and "Selling Sunset."