Apollo valued Paramount at $26 billion in an overture that was ignored| Trending Viral hub

While Paramount, the media company home to the “Top Gun” franchise and Nickelodeon, was finalizing exclusive talks to sell itself to media company Skydance, another suitor emerged.

Apollo Global Management, the investment firm, told Paramount over the weekend that it was interested in acquiring the entire company for more than $26 billion, including the value of Paramount’s debt, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. . It had previously submitted an $11 billion bid to acquire just the Paramount film studio. (Paramount also owns CBS and other cable networks.)

Paramount decided not to participate in the Apollo proposal, the people said, with one person explaining that doing so could have derailed its negotiations with Skydance, which became exclusive this week.

Apollo’s offer would have been subject to due diligence, which would take time, one person said. Apollo said in a letter to Paramount that it was interested in buying out all of the company’s shareholders in cash, which could prove attractive as the board seeks to reach a deal that would not only please Shari Redstone, who controls Paramount, but also to the company’s common shareholders. .

The Wall Street Journal previously reported on Apollo’s interest in Paramount.

The deal currently being discussed with Skydance would involve Skydance purchasing National Amusements, the company that owns Ms. Redstone’s voting shares in Paramount, and merging with Paramount. Although Redstone is eager to reach a deal, she is dependent on the approval of Paramount’s board of directors, which for weeks has been weighing her options with the help of advisers.

Late last month, David Ellison, the tech scion who founded Skydance, met with Paramount’s board committee to discuss his vision for a deal, according to two people with knowledge of the talks. Paramount shares have fallen 18 percent since the beginning of the year amid headwinds for the media industry. It has a market value of about $9.4 billion and about $15 billion in outstanding long-term debt.

The company trades at a deep discount to the combined value of Viacom and CBS, which merged to form Paramount in 2019. Paramount+ continues to lose money, but its losses have slowed and it continues to add subscribers.

Ratings agency S&P Global downgraded Paramount’s debt to junk last week, citing “accelerating declines” in its traditional television business and continued uncertainty in its push into streaming. Some analysts said that such a downgrade could make Paramount easier to acquire because it could circumvent a provision that would require a buyer to immediately pay off the company’s debt.

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