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Sony in bid to buy Paramount

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management, an investment firm, have been in discussions about teaming up for a joint bid to acquire Paramount, two people familiar with the situation said Thursday

Benjamin Mullin, Lauren Hirsch New York Published 20.04.24, 11:39 AM
New suitor

New suitor Reuters

Even as Paramount, the home of the “Top Gun” movie franchise and “SpongeBob SquarePants”, continues its talks to merge with another media company, Skydance, a new suitor has emerged.

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management, an investment firm, have been in discussions about teaming up for a joint bid to acquire Paramount, two people familiar with the situation said Thursday.

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The two companies have not submitted an official bid, as Paramount is still in exclusive conversations with Skydance, said the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss delicate negotiations. But the potential deal with Skydance has generated significant investor pushback.

Apollo previously reached out to Paramount about buying the company for at least $26 billion, including debt. But Paramount’s board proceeded with its more advanced conversations with Skydance, amid questions about Apollo’s financing.

A joint bid with Sony would almost certainly reduce those concerns, adding operational experience and additional capital to Apollo’s already significant war chest.

Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra has held conversations in the past week with Apollo about teaming up on a bid, the people said. The bid would be an all-cash offer for the outstanding stock in Paramount, in effect taking the company private through a joint venture.

The terms of the joint bid are still being worked out, and it’s possible that Sony and Apollo may not make an offer for Paramount, one of the people said. One structure could have Apollo take a minority stake in the joint venture, with Sony becoming the majority owner and operating the company. At some point, Apollo could cash out its investment, possibly by selling its stake back to Sony.

If Sony prevailed in its bid, the company would most likely operate the Paramount studio as a label within its own media empire, fusing the studio’s marketing and distribution arm with its own. It remains to be seen how CBS, one of Paramount’s crown jewels, would fit into the combined company along with Paramount’s fading cable channels.

New York Times News Service

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