Allen Media Group Makes $14.3 Billion Offer for Paramount Global

Author: Editors Desk Source: WSJ:
January 31, 2024 at 08:59
Byron Allen seeks to add CBS and the Paramount Hollywood studio to his media assets, which include the Weather Channel and HBCU GO. PHOTO: JEROD HARRIS/GETTY IMAGES
Byron Allen seeks to add CBS and the Paramount Hollywood studio to his media assets, which include the Weather Channel and HBCU GO. PHOTO: JEROD HARRIS/GETTY IMAGES

Media entrepreneur Byron Allen is throwing his hat in the ring for Paramount Global PARA -0.51%decrease; red down pointing triangle, the home of CBS and the Paramount Hollywood studio.

Allen Media Group has made a $14.3 billion offer to buy Paramount Global, according to people familiar with the situation. Allen has offered $28.58 for each voting share of the company and $21.53 for each nonvoting share, the people said. With debt, the offer is around $30 billion, they said.

Allen made the offer on Tuesday by emailing and texting several members of the board and management of Paramount, including Paramount CEO Bob Bakish and Paramount’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, said the people. 

“We believe this $30 billion offer, which includes debt and equity, is the best solution for all of the Paramount Global shareholders, and the bid should be taken seriously and pursued,” Allen Media Group said in a statement.

Bloomberg News earlier reported the news of the offer Tuesday.

Paramount and National Amusements, the controlling shareholder of Paramount, declined to comment.

Allen’s offer comes as David Ellison’s Skydance Media and Warner Bros Discovery have expressed interest in owning Paramount. National Amusements, Shari Redstone’s privately held movie theater company, which controls Paramount, has been exploring a sale in recent months. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Skydance Media CEO David Ellison was discussing an all-cash bid for National Amusements, with financial help from other Skydance investors including his father, billionaire Larry Ellison.

Last month, Warner Bros. Discovery WBD -3.72%decrease; red down pointing triangle Chief Executive David Zaslav met Bakish to discuss a possible merger between two of Hollywood and cable’s biggest brands. The executives broached the idea of a deal, but no formal talks between the companies are under way.

This isn’t the first time that Allen has tried to do a deal with Paramount. Last year, Allen made a $3 billion bid for Paramount’s BET Media Group, which included its BET and VH1 cable networks and a piece of its BET+ streaming service, but Paramount decided against selling the business, the Journal previously reported. 

Byron Allen’s existing portfolio of media assets includes the Weather Channel, HBCU GO, theGrio streaming app and more than two dozen ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox network affiliate television stations.

Allen has been in discussions with companies that have expressed interest in Paramount’s studio and lot, one of the people said—and if a deal happens, AMG would keep the cable networks, which include Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and CBS broadcast network. CBS currently holds lucrative broadcasting rights to live sports, including the NFL.

Write to Jessica Toonkel at jessica.toonkel@wsj.com and Gareth Vipers at gareth.vipers@wsj.com

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