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Apollo Global said to have tabled $11bn bid for Paramount’s studio business

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management has reportedly made an US$11bn offer for Paramount Global’s film and TV studio business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Bob Bakish

The potential deal would see Paramount’s content studio separate from the rest of the business, which also consists of US broadcast network CBS, a portfolio of networks including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET, and global streamers Paramount+ and Pluto TV.

WSJ reported that Apollo could partner with other companies to finance a deal for the studio, which has produced movie franchises including Top Gun and Transformers and TV franchises such as Yellowstone and its growing roster of spin-offs.

Reports of the bid sent Paramount shares up by almost 12% to US$12.51 per share on Wednesday.

The reported US$11bn offer exceeds Paramount Global’s market cap, which started the day at around US$7.7bn before the report caused it to jump. At the end of trading on Wednesday, the company’s market cap was US$8.67bn.

Last week, Axios reported that Apollo, whose entertainment footprint includes a minority stake in Legendary Entertainment, was still interested in acquiring some or all of the Shari Redstone-owned company after Bloomberg first reported its interest in January.

At the same time, Redstone’s team is reportedly evaluating an offer from David Ellison’s Skydance, which is in talks to potentially acquire Paramount by taking control of its parent company, National Amusements.

The Financial Times reported Thursday that Redstone prefers the Ellison bid which is backed by private equity investor KKR, RedBird Capital and Tencent and would result in Ellison running the combined Paramount and Skydance operation.

US media mogul Byron Allen, via his Allen Media Group, also publicly put up a US$14bn offer, although the proposal did not include specifics on how the deal might be financed.

Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish also met with Warner Bros Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav in December, though those talks have reportedly stopped after the market reacted poorly to reports of a potential merger. In addition, Paramount leaders have held talks with Comcast over a potential joint-venture streamer combining Peacock and Paramount+.

Paramount Global’s leadership team has been busy over the past six months as it has sold off assets, reduced headcount and shifted its programming priorities as it attempts to reduce a debt pile of around US$15bn.

Over the past six months, it has sold book publishing company Simon & Schuster and mixed martial arts promotion Bellator, laid off more than 800 staffers, closed down its preschool subscription service Noggin, pulled back on non-US programming and, most recently, offloaded its minority stake in Indian media company Viacom18 for US$517m.


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