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Sony Is in Talks With Apollo on a Joint Paramount Bid

In Business
April 19, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Sony Group Corp. and Apollo Global Management Inc. are considering teaming up in a bid for the film and TV giant Paramount Global, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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The two companies haven’t submitted an official offer, said the person, who asked to not be identified discussing private conversations. In the last week, Tony Vinciquerra, who leads Sony Pictures Entertainment, has held discussions with Apollo about teaming up on an offer.

Paramount, the parent of CBS, MTV and other networks, is holding exclusive talks with Skydance Media, the independent film and TV company led by technology heir David Ellison.

The Sony-Apollo group would offer cash for shares of Paramount, taking the company private through a joint venture, according to the New York Times, which reported on the discussions earlier Thursday.

Paramount shares rose as much as 14% in after-hours trading. Sony declined to comment.

The added interest could lead to a bidding war for one of Hollywood’s best known properties. Paramount is also a major filmmaker, with a library that includes hits like Mission: Impossible and The Godfather. Apollo previously made an offer for Paramount.

A joint bid “would likely assuage financing concerns that Paramount management may have had with Apollo’s prior $26 billion bid — given Sony’s deep pockets,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan wrote in a note. It could provide an alternative to the Skydance proposal, which hasn’t been well-received by Paramount’s nonvoting shareholders, she wrote.

Tokyo-based Sony bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. The home to the Spider-Man and Ghostbusters film franchises is the only major Hollywood studio without a general entertainment streaming service. An acquisition of Paramount would significantly increase its exposure to traditional TV channels, which have been losing viewers to streaming.

Paramount is controlled by Shari Redstone through a family business called National Amusements, which holds a 77% voting stake and would receive cash for its stock under a deal with Skydance. Independent members of Paramount’s board are weighing the Skydance proposal, which would merge that business with the film and TV company.

(Updates with analyst’s comment in seventh paragraph.)

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