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Imagining the Apollo-Paramount Arranged Marriage

shari redstone
Now that Shari Redstone is facing what appears to be a busted auction for Paramount Global, it’s no surprise that the private equity behemoth Apollo has wriggled to the surface. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
March 17, 2024

Alas, as you may have noticed, the sale process for Paramount Global is not going particularly well. Since the beginning of the year, around the time when the process began, the Paramount stock has plummeted 22 percent, while the S&P 500 is up more than 8 percent. Usually, of course, companies “in play,” as they like to say on Wall Street, enjoy a stock bounce as the bidding commences and a winner is selected. But Paramount just keeps drifting lower and lower, with no particular end in sight. 

A decade ago, when Viacom and CBS were separate, publicly traded companies, albeit still controlled by the Redstone family, their combined market cap was $75 billion. These days, five years after Shari Redstone forced the recombination of CBS and Viacom into Paramount Global, the company’s equity value is down around 90 percent to a mere $7.8 billion. The Redstone family, which owns 10 percent of the economic stock of the company, has seen its on-paper family fortune sink to around $750 million.