Paramount opens talks with Sony and Apollo

Paramount Studios Water Tower


Paramount Global has opened negotiations with suitors Sony and Apollo Global Management, according to a report in the New York Times. The move follows the end of an exclusive window of talks with David Ellison’s production company Skydance on Friday.

According to the NYT, citing unnamed sources, Paramount’s special committee decided on Saturday to kick of talks with the new suitors while carrying on talks with Skydance.

The Sony-Apollo bid is reportedly an all-cash offer of US$26 billion to buy Paramount overall.

Skydance had previously reached an initial agreement whereby it would acquire National Amusements, the investment vehicle of Paramount chair Shari Redstone, which holds about 10% of the company’s stock but a majority of voting shares.

However, the pair ware unable to strike a definitive deal before the exclusive window lapsed at the end of last week.

Meanwhile two big Hollywood names have reportedly leant their support to a deal with Skydance.

Film director James Cameron, whose Titanic remains the biggest hit of the Paramount studio, and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, told the Financial Times newspaper they believed Ellison could revive the studio’s fortunes.

Redstone has faced pushback (and the potential threat of legal action) from shareholders who believe the Skydance deal will benefit Redstone at their expense.

Paramount CEO and onetime Restone ally Bob Bakish stepped down last week over reported differences over the Skydance deal, with a triumvirate of senior executives taking over.

A deal with Sony and Apollo, though favoured by shareholders, is potentially less welcome to others in Hollywood who fear the consequences of a reduction in the number of major studios.

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