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The Apollo Vultures Are Circling Shari

The biggest impediment to a deal for the Redstone family’s NAI or Paramount Global is the change of control provision that would require any financial buyer to refinance $11.2 billion of Paramount’s senior notes.
The biggest impediment to a deal for the Redstone family’s NAI or Paramount Global is the change of control provision that would require any financial buyer to refinance $11.2 billion of Paramount’s senior notes. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
January 24, 2024

Late last week, our friend Lucas Shaw over at Bloomberg reported that Apollo Global Management was “considering” making an offer to buy National Amusements Inc., the Redstone family holding company through which Shari Redstone controls Paramount Global. Apparently Apollo has been in contact with Shari’s bankers at BDT & MSD Partners, presumably to get in the queue to kick the tires at Paramount, joining in the party started by David Ellison, RedBird Capital, and KKR, who are the controlling investors in Skydance Media, which presumably would be the vehicle through which Ellison and his posse would pursue NAI or Paramount. It’s also been posited that David Zaslav is considering making a bid for Paramount Global through Warner Bros. Discovery, his publicly traded leveraged buyout. As you recall, Zaz and Bob Bakish, the Paramount C.E.O., had lunch in December.

Is all of this just a bunch of M&A mumbo jumbo, cooked up by Shari to make it seem like she’s finally on her long-awaited and much-hoped-for exit ramp? Or is there anything substantive behind these various deal leaks?