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Sony and Apollo propose $26 billion deal for Paramount Global




Sony and Apollo propose $26 billion deal for Paramount Global

(Bloomberg) — Sony Group Corp. and Apollo Global Management Inc. have made a $26 billion proposal to buy Paramount Global, the media giant that owns CBS and MTV, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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The offer was described as a non-binding expression of interest, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a preliminary proposal. It would be an all-cash offer for Paramount stock, plus the assumption of debt.

Paramount, which is controlled by Shari Redstone, has been considering a merger proposal from David Ellison, the head of Skydance Media and son of the co-founder of Oracle Corp.. A period of exclusive talks between Paramount executives and Ellison ends Friday.

That proposed transaction, which would buy out the controlling Redstone family at a premium and merge Ellison’s company with Paramount, has been criticized by other Paramount investors concerned about the dilution of their holdings. Some have urged Paramount to consider other offers.

A special committee of Paramount executives went back to Ellison with a list of additional conditions, which he largely complied with, people familiar with the discussions said. Ellison and his investors, including RedBird Capital Partners, agreed to buy more Paramount non-voting shares at a premium to sweeten the deal for the company’s other investors. The committee has not yet decided whether to accept the offer.

Paramount’s non-voting shares rose more than 14% to $13.99 in New York. The move by Sony and Apollo was reported earlier Thursday by the New York Times.

Paramount’s approach is the latest from Apollo. The alternative asset manager previously proposed buying just the Paramount film studio and then made a preliminary offer for the entire company, an offer that Paramount’s board did not consider complete.

Sony, already a major player in entertainment, is most interested in Paramount’s film and TV library. The deal under consideration would see the Tokyo-based company acquire a majority stake in the new venture, with Apollo as an investor. Still, a transaction involving a foreign owner and the potential consolidation of two major Hollywood studios would likely face regulatory scrutiny.

(Updates with details of the offer in second paragraph.)

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