Sony and Apollo want to buy Paramount for $26 billion in cash — and the stock soars 13%

Sony Pictures and Apollo Global Management have made a $26 billion all-cash offer to buy Paramount Global, the parent company of CBS, MTV, and Paramount Pictures, according to a new report.

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The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reports that Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra and Apollo partner Aaron Sobel signed an offer letter that was sent on Wednesday. The offer letter is non-binding and is meant to start talks, The Journal reports.

The news comes just one day before Paramount’s exclusive merger talks with the movie production company Skydance Media are set to end. It sent Paramount stock surging 13% in Thursday afternoon trading, making it one of the day’s best performers on the S&P 500.

Skydance, led by David Ellison, the son of Oracle co-founder and billionaire Larry Ellison, has agreed to pay more than $2 billion for National Amusements, the holding company behind Paramount, Bloomberg News has reported. Its current head, Shari Redstone, led Viacom and CBS’s 2019 merger into what is now Paramount Global. If that merger succeeds, Ellison would become CEO of the new merged company.

The new bid also comes just days after Bob Backish, Paramount’s former chief executive, stepped down from his role. He was replaced by an “office of the CEO” made up of three division heads at the company. That new office includes CBS CEO George Cheeks, Chris McCarthy, the CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, and Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon CEO Brian Robbins.

CNBC reported that Bakish had privately expressed concerns about the Skydance deal, saying it could dilute common shares of the company.

Sony declined to comment Thursday. Paramount and Apollo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Paramount and Skydance agreed to a month of exclusive talks and settled on a deal that would value Skydance at around $5 billion. But the move left shareholders deeply displeased — and they’ve been voicing it with a mailbag of indignant letters. Among the notes landing on Paramount’s doorstep: the entertainment giant is puppeteering “organized schemes,” the merger is doomed under a “silver-spooned” nepo-hire, and an “avalanche of litigation” could soon be careening the company’s way.

-William Gavin contributed to this article.

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