Sony’s Tony Vinciquerra Says Paramount Talks Are “Still Progressing” Despite Skydance Sweetening Deal; CEO Hits ‘Bad Boys: Ride Or Die’ Premiere Red Carpet

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MAY 30: Tony Vinciquerra, Chairperson and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, (L) and Will Smith attend the Los Angeles Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Bad Boys: Ride Or Die” at the TCL Chinese Theater on May 30, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)
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“It’s still progressing.”

That’s what Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra had to say about his studio’s talks with Paramount Global for a potential merger. His comments tonight at the Hollywood premiere for Sony’s Bad Boys: Ride or Die come on a day when Skydance has reportedly sweetened its deal for the Shari Redstone-run conglom. Aside from that, Vinciquerra couldn’t disclose any more updates because, alas, he’s under an NDA which Sony signed two weeks ago. That gives them access to Paramount Global’s books and allows deal talks to move ahead.

Deadline also asked Vinciquerra about exhibitors’ fears over a Sony-Paramount merger, and how that might lead to less product in a marketplace that’s already been evaporated by less titles because of double strikes and streaming’s impact on theatrical.

Vinciquerra’s words to theater owners, “They should not be worried.”

Chairman and CEO Sony Pictures Entertainment Tony Vinciquerra on how the potential merger would affect those in exhibition : “They should not be worried” pic.twitter.com/BfFsL1cw4e

— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) May 31, 2024

Vinciquerra’s appearance at the Bad Boys 4 premiere follows his remarks last night on a Sony investor event call. While he didn’t broach the subject of Sony/Apollo’s interest in Paramount, nor was he grilled by analysts about it yesterday, Vinciquerra did have something to say on what type of investments the film and TV portion of the studio are interested in, specifically “strategic” that “complement” the conglom’s mission.

Said Vinciquerra, “We are not going to go outside the strategy that has been enormously successful for us over the past several years,” he said. “We will not make investments that don’t complement our core strategy, and our strategy is to have more IP, more product, more library to sell. We’re not going to get into other businesses. We’re not going to get into a general entertainment streaming service. We’re not going to be operating other businesses that are outside the strategy that we have defined.”

Sony and private equity giant Apollo initially had a preliminary bid of $26 billion. But in recent weeks, the notion is that it’s smaller. Biggest hurdles for Sony taking Paramount is a foreign-owned conglom’s ownership of U.S. broadcast stations.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die opens on June 7 with an eye at $50M domestic.

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