Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

David Ellison: Tom Cruise Backs Skydance-Paramount Merger, Applauds Response

Skydance CEO David Ellison revealed that Tom Cruise, star of Paramount’s Mission Impossible and Top Gun franchises, is supportive of the proposed merger between Skydance and Paramount. Ellison highlighted the “remarkable and humbling” outreach from the entertainment community regarding the merger.

Ellison expressed optimism about the merger’s potential, emphasizing the stability and long-term focus it could bring to the entertainment industry. He noted, “We really are going to take the long-term approach to this business, and it’s been exciting, encouraging, and humbling that the greatest filmmakers and artists are supportive of this transaction,” during an interview with CNBC.

Skydance has collaborated with Cruise on nine films, and Ellison praised the actor as “one of the greatest, most talented artists in the world.” He also mentioned that Top Gun: Maverick was the very first film he ever developed.

Ellison shared insights into his family’s investment philosophy, explaining their comfort with businesses undergoing transitions. He cited Oracle’s recent transition and Tesla as examples, noting that his family invested in Oracle during a pivotal period, emerging stronger. They believe that with strategic investments, Paramount can become a leading media company, merging art with technology.

Ellison confirmed that his father, billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, supports Skydance and its planned acquisition and merger with Paramount. Addressing his father’s role in the New Paramount, Ellison explained that while he and Jeff Shell will run the company, he maintains a close relationship with his father and values his daily advice.

Pressed about the specifics of their plans, Ellison mentioned some aspects remain confidential during the transition. However, he highlighted the collaboration between Skydance and Oracle in creating a cloud-based animation studio, showcasing the synergy between technology and entertainment.

Reflecting on Skydance’s founding 15 years ago, Ellison stated that the company was built on the premise of bridging Silicon Valley and Hollywood. This vision aimed to drive disruptive innovation in entertainment, a direction he believes Paramount now needs to follow to stay relevant and transformative.

The deal between Skydance and Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder, took months of negotiations before reaching an agreement. The transaction was announced on Sunday night, initiating a 45-day “go shop” period for other interested bidders to propose offers. If no better offers are made, the deal is expected to clear regulatory approvals quicker than initially anticipated.

Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital, a partner and investor in Skydance, appeared with Ellison on CNBC and noted, “There could be a pathway for a quicker review process, but it’s not in our control.”

The deal entails Skydance and its backers, including Larry Ellison and RedBird, acquiring Shari Redstone’s family holding company National Amusements, which controls Paramount. The Skydance group will invest $1.5 billion in Paramount and merge with the iconic company. Paramount, being publicly traded, will see Skydance offering to buy out all Class A voting shares at $23 each and a portion of non-voting Class B shares at $15.

Source: Various