HomeBusinessSony is in discussions with Apollo about a joint offer

Sony is in discussions with Apollo about a joint offer

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

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The two companies have not submitted a formal offer, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private conversations. Over the past week, Tony Vinciquerra, head of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has been in discussions with Apollo about a partnership.

Paramount, the parent company of CBS, MTV and other networks, is in 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, which would take the company private through a joint venture, according to the New York Times, which reported on the talks earlier Thursday.

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

The added interest could spark a bidding war for one of Hollywood’s best-known properties. Paramount is also a major filmmaker, with a library of hits like Mission: Impossible and The Godfather. Apollo previously made a bid for Paramount.

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A joint bid “would likely address any financing concerns that Paramount management may have had with Apollo’s previous $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 has not been well received by Paramount’s non-voting shareholders, she wrote.

Tokyo-based Sony bought Columbia Pictures in 1989. Home to the Spider-Man and Ghostbusters film franchises, it is the only major Hollywood studio without a general entertainment streaming service. A Paramount acquisition would significantly increase exposure to traditional TV channels, which are losing viewers to streaming.

Paramount is controlled by Shari Redstone through a family-owned company called National Amusements, which has a 77% voting interest and would receive cash for its shares under a deal with Skydance. Independent members of Paramount’s board of directors are considering the Skydance proposal, which would merge that company with the film and TV company.

(Updates with analyst commentary in seventh paragraph.)

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