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Paramount CEO Bob Bakish may depart on Monday as Skydance merger talks continue

Paramount CEO Bob Bakish may depart on Monday as Skydance merger talks continue

Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom Inc., speaks during the Mobile World Conference Americas event in Los Angeles, California, US, on Tuesday, October 22, 2019.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Paramount Global's board of directors is preparing to fire CEO Bob Bakish on Monday morning, according to people familiar with the matter.

Paramount Global It reports its quarterly earnings on Monday and people said Bakish would not be on the call.

The board is expected to rely on the company's division heads rather than the CEO while negotiating a potential merger with Skydance Media. Paramount Global formed a special committee to explore the deal. The two companies are in exclusive talks to pursue the deal until May 3, although this window could be extended.

Bakish has lost the confidence of Paramount Global's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, according to people familiar with her thinking. Redstone wanted to make a move to oust Bakish before Paramount Global's carriage negotiations with Charter Communications, which is pivotal to determining the company's value in merger talks with Skydance, the people said.

A Paramount Global spokesman declined to comment.

CNBC reported Thursday that Paramount and Skydance are making progress in reaching a final agreement, under which Bakish will leave Paramount. Skydance intends to appoint CEO David Ellison to lead Paramount, according to people familiar with the matter.

In private, Bakish objected to the merger, claiming it could dilute common shareholders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the terms of the deal, approximately 50% of the combined company will be owned by Skydance and its private equity partners, CNBC reported on April 5. Common shareholders will own the rest of the company, which will continue to be publicly traded.

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