Edgar Bronfman Jr. Expresses Interest in Paramount Owner, Source Confirms

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
A view of Paramount Studios’s water tank in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 26, 2023.

Former media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr., backed by private equity firm Bain Capital, has expressed interest in buying Paramount’s PARA.O controlling shareholder National Amusements, a source familiar with the matter said Monday.

It is unclear what Bronfman’s interest might mean for the leading bidder for Paramount, independent studio Skydance Media, which has structured a complex $8 billion deal to gain control of the larger studio, through the purchase of National Amusements, and subsequently merge with Paramount.

Bronfman is looking to offer between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for National Amusements, the private company that holds the Redstone family’s controlling interest in Paramount, the source said. Bain would provide the financing as a fund investment, said the source, adding that neither party has performed due diligence.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report Bronfman’s interest. National Amusements and Bain Capital declined to comment. Bronfman did not respond to requests for comment.

Skydance Media’s CEO David Ellison reduced an initial $2.5 billion bid for National Amusements in order to offer additional cash for Paramount’s non-voting shareholders, Reuters reported last week, citing sources.

The Reuters report said Redstone was unhappy with the reduced offer for the family’s controlling stake in the company, potentially opening the door for rival bidders to make their case.

Bronfman, the Seagram heir and former chairman of Warner Music, is one of two parties that had expressed interest in acquiring National Amusements. The other is independent Hollywood producer Steven Paul, whose film credits include “Baby Geniuses.”

Paul, CEO of Crystal Sky Pictures, has also been lining up to make an offer for National Amusements for around $3 billion, WSJ reported last month.

Negotiations with Skydance have been going on for months.

Under the terms of the latest offer from Skydance, Paramount would acquire the independent studio in an all-stock deal valued at $4.75 billion, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The deal is contingent upon Skydance acquiring National Amusements.

At Paramount’s annual shareholder meeting last week, the company’s co-CEOs put forth a restructuring plan that includes $500 million in annualized cost cuts, potential asset sales and a possible joint venture or other partnerships for its Paramount+ streaming service.