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Apollo moves away from National Amusements takeover orbit

EXCLUSIVE: We learn that Apollo Global Management, which was considering an offer for National Amusements, the Redstone family company which controls Paramount Global, is no longer considering this decision.

Representatives for Apollo Global Management, Paramount Global and National Amusements declined to comment.

While the situation is still fluid and it may be early to exclude Apollo from the process entirely, sources tell us the private equity firm co-founded by Marc Rowan-Josh Harris-Leon Black is nervous following the explosion of coverage by the FCC. finance Standard General’s attempted $8.6 billion bid for the Tegna Station Group – a deal Apollo Global Management was close to financing. The deal was signed in 2022 and collapsed in May 2023.

Apollo is also an investor in Dune Legendary Entertainment movie studio.

“Capital is not the problem, approval is the commodity; very few people can get FCC approval,” a person with knowledge of Paramount Global’s project told Deadline. That means regulatory concerns, not access to capital, are the primary consideration in who takes over Paramount Global or National Amusements.

“The FCC doesn’t want hedge fund operators anywhere near local TV stations after what they did to the newspapers,” the person added.

Bloomberg reported on January 20 that Apollo had contacted BDT & MSD Partners, the investment bank advising the Redstones.

Also in the mix is ​​David Ellison, who is looking to merge his Skydance Media with Paramount. He has his eyes primarily on the movie studio and has deep-pocketed backers like his father, billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and RedBird Capital.

Byron Allen made public a $30 billion (including equity and outstanding debt) offer for Paramount Global a few weeks ago. It wants to keep the broadcast assets, linear networks and, potentially, Paramount+, with the Paramount movie studio and real estate offloaded.

The Redstone family, led by Shari Redstone, controls 77% of the voting stock of Paramount, the parent company of CBS, MTV and other film and television properties. CBS just aired and Paramount+ aired Super Bowl LVIII which saw the Kansas City Chiefs topple the San Francisco 49ers.

Following Allen’s offer in late January, Deadline has learned that a special board committee was formed to evaluate any potential bid for Paramount Global and to provide an additional level of oversight. Shari Redstone, the company’s non-executive chairwoman and director of its majority shareholder National Amusements, is not a member of this special committee.

Paramount has a dual-class ownership structure. The Redstone family trust, National Amusements, controls nearly 80% of the Class A voting stock, meaning any interested buyer who didn’t want Shari looking over their shoulder would have to acquire NAI’s stake as well as that of Paramount, listed on the stock exchange.

Simply acquiring NAI’s majority stake would anger minority shareholders and could lead to legal battles if a buyer forces a deal or merger. Warren Buffett owns about 15% of the company.

Allen’s offer is actually two-tiered: He’s offering $28.58 each for Paramount’s voting shares and $21.53 for the non-voting shares.

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