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Sony, Apollo offer $26 billion in cash for Paramount

The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)
The front of the Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles, California. (Stock image by Hannah Wernecke via Unsplash)

Sony and Apollo Global Management have formalized their $26 billion all-cash bid for Paramount Global, according to a report published on Thursday.

The offer — first reported by the Wall Street Journal, then confirmed separately by the New York Times — was submitted on Wednesday and signed by Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra and Apollo Global partner Aaron Sobel.

If accepted, Sony would become the majority owner of Paramount Global, which includes the Paramount Pictures studio, CBS and MTV Networks linear television channels, foreign broadcast outlets like Channel 5 in Britain and Network 10 in Australia and the streaming platforms Paramount Plus and Pluto TV.

Apollo Global would be a minority shareholder in Paramount and cede operational control to Sony, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

The bid comes two days before the expiration of a window of exclusivity in which Paramount executives and the company board engaged in exclusive pre-merger discussions with production firm Skydance Media. Those talks have drawn criticism from some institutional and retail investors, who argue the proposed deal is likely to benefit National Amusements owner Shari Redstone, who owns the majority of Paramount’s stock.

On its own, Apollo had previously submitted a $26 billion offer for Paramount, which would have included $12 billion in equity plus debt, the Journal reported. The Paramount board did not seriously consider that offer, nor did it weigh one made by Allen Media Group founder Byron Allen for Paramount’s linear channels and other assets.

The revised Sony-Apollo offer also comes two days after Paramount CEO Bob Bakish agreed to step down from the role. He has since transitioned into the role of a senior advisor, and is expected to remain with Paramount through October.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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