Media mogul Byron Allen has made a $14.3 billion offer to buy all of the outstanding shares of Paramount Global, according to people familiar with his terms.
Allen offered $28.58 each for the voting shares of Paramount, a 50% premium to recent trading, and $21.53 for the non-voting shares, according to the people, who asked to not be identified discussing terms that weren’t public. Including existing debt, the total value of the deal rises to about $30 billion.
His company, Allen Media Group, confirmed that he made an offer in a statement to Bloomberg News. Representatives for Paramount declined to comment.
“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’s company said in the statement.
Paramount — one of the crown jewels in a global media empire controlled by the Redstone family — would be a tough deal to complete. The company generated operating income before depreciation and amortization of $1.87 billion in the first nine months of last year, a 30% decline from the year before. Sales, at $22 billion, were flat. Allen would be borrowing at a time of much higher interest rates than some of his previous acquisitions.
Allen’s plan, according to the people, is to sell the Paramount film studio, real estate and some other intellectual property. He will keep the TV channels, including the Paramount+ streaming service, and run them on a more cost-efficient basis. He has banks and other investors lined up, the people said.Play Video
Paramount, the parent of CBS, Nickelodeon and other channels, has been in play for months after independent producer David Ellison began discussing a buyout of the Redstone family’s shares last year.
Allen sent his offer via text message and email to Paramount senior management and board members.
A stand-up comic who branched into producing TV shows, Allen has spent more than $1 billion in recent years to acquire assets such as the Weather Channel and a string of local TV stations from Honolulu to Tucson. If he’s successful in his bid, he would roll his existing TV assets into the new company.
Allen has said he has a better chance of acquiring media assets than many because he’s already won regulatory approvals to own stations. His station group isn’t large enough to trigger limits on ownership, however.
Last year, Allen bid for Paramount’s BET and VHF channels, reiterating his $3.5 billion offer just last month in an email to the board.
In September, he sent Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger a text offering $10 billion, albeit tentatively, for Disney’s flagship ABC broadcast network as well as the FX and National Geographic cable channels. Iger, who had previously suggested he’d considered offers, later said he didn’t want to sell.
Allen has unsuccessfully thrown his hat in the ring at other times to purchase properties ranging from TV station owner Tegna Inc. to the Denver Broncos football team.