Sony Pictures CEO Says Paramount Talks Won’t Shift Investments That ‘Complement’ Current Strategy SuperNayr

Sony Pictures Entertainment has no plans for strategic investments in areas that do not already complement its current strategy, CEO Tony Vinciquerra emphasized on Wednesday evening.

“Our strategy is to have more IP, more product, more library to sell. We’re not going to get into other businesses,” he told analysts during Sony’s 2024 business segment meeting. “We’re not going to get into a general entertainment streaming service. We’re not going to be operating other businesses that are outside of the strategy that we’ve defined.”

The remarks come as the studio has teamed up with Apollo Global Management on a joint $26 billion all-cash offer for Paramount Global.

Paramount office of the CEO; George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy and Brian Robbins, with Shari Redstone

Under the terms of the initial non-binding expression of interest, Sony would be the significant majority shareholder with operational control, while Apollo would take a minority stake, an individual familiar with the matter previously told TheWrap. The bid followed a separate offer by Apollo to solely acquire Paramount Pictures, which was rebuffed.

Though the pair officially signed NDAs in May to begin conversations about acquiring the assets, The New York Times reported that they have since backed away from that original offer due to the costs of the bid and headwinds facing the subscription streaming business.

Paramount’s controlling shareholder Shari Redstone has long been opposed to any deal for the company that breaks up its assets, though an individual familiar with Redstone’s thinking previously told TheWrap that she is open to finding a deal in the best interest of Paramount shareholders and supports the company’s independent special committee reviewing the Sony-Apollo bid.

Skydance Media CEO David Ellison and National Amusements President Shari Redstone

While Sony has been an arms dealer in the streaming wars rather than a direct competitor, it does control the anime streaming service Crunchyroll as part of a joint venture with Aniplex, which Vinciquerra sees as a “primary driver of growth over the next few years.”

“We have well over 13 million subscribers, we expect that to grow pretty substantially over time. On revenue and profit, we see very substantial growth in the single and the double digits over the next four or five years,” he said. “We’re very confident that Crunchyroll along with Aniplex and with SMEJ will be terrific for us.”

In addition to its distribution deal with Amazon Channels in the U.S., Sony plans to expand that partnership by launching Crunchyroll in India and several other Southeast Asian countries over the next couple of months.

“We’re right now building up the inventory of product that we have on Crunchyroll for Southeast Asia. It’s not to the extent that we would like it to be, but it will be soon and we’re going to use that to drive subscription in Southeast Asia,” Vinciquerra added.

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In addition to Sony and Apollo, David Ellison’s Skydance Media has offered to buy Paramount, though that option has received major pushback from the company’s minority shareholders, who argue that it prioritizes Redstone over the rest of the investors.

Skydance submitted a revised offer in an attempt to assuage those investor concerns, though Paramount opted to let its exclusive negotiating window expire with no deal. Two individuals previously confirmed to TheWrap that Paramount would continue to explore the deal proposed by Skydance.

Paramount also has the option of continuing to go it alone with its newly formed Office of the CEO, which replaced former Paramount CEO Bob Bakish.

On June 4, Paramount will hold its annual meeting of shareholders, where four board members — including three who are on the special committee — will step down. The company, which has a market capitalization of $7.9 billion as of Thursday afternoon, has seen its shares fall 20% year to date and in the past six months and 27% in the past year.

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