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Hedge fund Barington urges Paramount to scrap talks with Skydance

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Barington Capital, the fundamental, value-oriented activist hedge fund firm founded in 2000 by James A Mitarotonda, wants Paramount Global to scrap its exclusive merger talks with Skydance Media, according to a report by Reuters.

The New York-based firm, which holds 325,000 Paramount Global shares, reportedly believes that the proposed deal favours Paramount’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and that considering other potential bidders would potentially benefit all shareholders.

In a letter to the Paramount board, Mitarotonda wrote: “We strongly object to the special committee’s decision to enter into an exclusivity agreement with Skydance – or any party for that matter. By choosing not to negotiate with other parties or permit them to conduct due diligence, the special committee has effectively chilled the process.”

Paramount entered into a 30-day exclusive negotiating period with Skydance, the studio that partnered with Paramount Pictures on films such as Top Gun: Maverick, as a special committee of the board evaluates the possible acquisition of the smaller independent studio in a stock deal worth $4bn to $5bn.

Skydance is also negotiating separately to acquire National Amusements (NAI), the company that holds the Redstone family’s controlling interest in Paramount, according to a person familiar with the deal terms, with that deal contingent upon a Skydance-Paramount merger.

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