Paramount Is An Impaired Asset With A Broken Deal Process, According To Top Adviser To Disney CEO | Old North State Wealth News
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Paramount is an impaired asset with a broken deal process, according to top adviser to Disney CEO



Paramount’s (PARA) future looks as uncertain as the ending to a blood and guts horror movie.

“I will say Paramount as a company is quite impaired at this point,” Candle Media co-founder Kevin Mayer told Yahoo Finance at the Cannes Lions Festival this week.

Mayer is credited with leading the launch of Disney+ and is serving as a close adviser to Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on succession planning. He was also briefly the CEO of TikTok after leaving the Mickey Mouse company.

“Maybe it will resurrect, but it has a broken deal process and a business that is not doing all that well,” added Mayer.

Resurrection is looking tough for Paramount.

Last week, Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of Paramount, scuttled a deal with David Ellison’s Skydance. The last-minute move surprised those involved in the talks and shareholders.

The reported reasons for the change of heart vary.

They range from Redstone being unable to sell her father Sumner Redstone’s legacy to Ellison’s billionaire father, Oracle (ORCL) founder Larry Ellison, swinging his sharp elbows around in the final days of negotiations.

Redstone was also reportedly concerned about litigation risk stemming from the tie-up with Skydance.

“David Ellison and Skydance are great guys, really smart guys. I am very surprised that Shari at the end didn’t decide to take that option,” Mayer said. “I think she’ll hopefully figure out what to do here. But as of right now, it’s a big strange problem.”

This comes as Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and a joint effort from Apollo Global Management (APO) and Sony (SONY), were also brushed off. (Disclosure: Yahoo Finance is owned by Apollo Global Management.)

The company now reenters tumultuous waters after ousting former CEO Bob Bakish in late April. It’s currently being led by an office of the CEO, comprising of Brian Robbins, Chris McCarthy, and George Cheeks.

The trio is widely expected to begin a fresh round of layoffs to shore up Paramount’s finances. At the company’s June 4 annual meeting, Cheeks outlined the potential to slash $500 million in costs on top of the extensive cuts made since the close of the Viacom-CBS merger in 2019.

Paramount could also look to strike a streaming joint venture with Comcast (CMCSA) to bolster profitability and engage in a sale process for networks BET, MTV, and/or VH1, speculates JPMorgan analyst Christian Crosby.

The company posted adjusted operating losses in its direct-to-consumer ($286 million) and film ($3 million) divisions in the first quarter. Profits increased 11% in the TV business on the back of strong ad spending for the Super Bowl.

The stock has lost 80% of its value in the past five years, according to Yahoo Finance data. Its market cap of $6.9 billion is lightyears away from Netflix’s (NFLX) $292 billion.

“While we continue to believe Paramount retains an attractive collection of assets, secular and cyclical headwinds should remain challenging to fundamentals near term,” Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich said in a client note.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance’s Executive Editor. He is also the host of the “Opening Bid” podcast. Follow Sozzi on Twitter/X @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email Are you a CEO and want to come on Yahoo Finance Live? Email Brian Sozzi.

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