Paramount Global Breakup: New Digital Disruptor Level Reached

Paramount Global has an alternative plan for its key streaming business -- and future overall --  should it not want to sell the company to a consortium of investors comprised of David Ellison’s Skydance Media and private equity firms RedBird Capital and KKR.

But it's not what we have been generally seeing recently when it comes to the current wave of bundling streaming partnerships.

“Let me be clear, we’re not talking about marketing bundles,” said Brian Robbins, CEO of Paramount Pictures, a member of the office of the CEO for Paramount Global. Tipping his hand about new business dealings, he adds: “This is a deep and expansive relationship.” 

Robbins didn’t go into detail. He was speaking along with the other two members of the office of the CEO at the company’s Tuesday annual shareholder meeting.



A partnership would seemingly include the company’s big streaming platform, Paramount+, which has more than 70 million subscribers but continues to lose money.

Robbins did say that like other legacy TV-media companies, Paramount is also open to transitioning more to licensing of content, as well as producing first-run programming content to other companies, all to help lower Paramount's overall sizable $14.6 billion debt.

Currently, the company is waiting on Shari Redstone, who owns National Amusements, which owns a controlling stake of Paramount Global shares at 77%, to make a decision on a new proposal. Reports suggest Redstone is still on the fence -- even amid a better cash offer and improved potential share deal in the new company.

In the meantime, Paramount’s day-to-day business still needs to proceed. And in that regard the trio of CEOs running the company announced a series of widespread cost-saving measures -- around $500 million overall. 

All that won’t make much of a dent in the crushing debt the company has to pay down. But it at least signals general direction and attention to the problem at hand.

Analysts believe Paramount Global's value for any potential buyer is its movie and TV production facilities, as well as its long-time movie and TV library of content. 

Lesser value is tied to traditional broadcast and cable TV networks. There’s strong belief those assets would be immediately sold off by the new owners.

If all this happens, Paramount Global would be identified as the first breakup of a major TV-media company.

This would be after decades of massive consolidation -- under one roof -- of traditional media content legacy businesses: major movie-TV production companies, broadcast and cable TV networks, TV and radio stations, TV syndication, outdoor, publishing, gaming content, and new associated digital media businesses.

The Paramount Global breakup would be the result of not only fast-growing direct-first streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but of new digital media giants like Meta Platforms, Google and Apple.

One obvious question, should this happen as envisioned by digital media disruptors: Who’s next?

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