Economy

Paramount Faces a Mountain of Questions

There’s turmoil at Paramount, with Bob Bakish, the media giant’s C.E.O., out as takeover talks heat up.Credit…Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Paramount’s cloudy future

The boardroom intrigue at Paramount Global — the drama that has gripped the corporate world — just got messier.

Bob Bakish is out as C.E.O., replaced by three subordinates who will form an “office of the C.E.O.” His departure caps a year of rising tension between him and Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder, who is pushing for a deal with David Ellison’s Skydance.

Bakish’s exit removed an executive who didn’t support that transaction, but it doesn’t resolve all of the big questions hanging over the company’s future.

Why Bakish was pushed out: Redstone picked the low-profile company veteran to lead Paramount after years of internal strife, but they still ended up clashing.

Bakish oversaw big changes at the company, including the creation of the Paramount+ streaming platform and acquiring Pluto TV, a free, ad-supported video service. But critics say Paramount was too late to streaming, leaving it undersized and far behind rivals in approaching profitability. Bad deal-making, they add, didn’t help: “Yellowstone,” its most-watchedshow, streams on NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and Bakish didn’t sell trophy assets like Showtime and BET when suitors offering billions came knocking.

He also expressed reservations about the Skydance deal; Puck reports that Bakish actively held talks with a potential rival bidder, Apollo Global Management.

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