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Sony Bids $26M For Paramount.

Sony Group Corp. and Apollo Global Management Inc. made a $26 billion proposal to buy Paramount Global, the media giant that owns CBS and MTV, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The offer was described as a nonbinding expression of interest, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a preliminary proposal. It would be an all-cash offer for Paramount shares, plus the assumption of debt.

Paramount, which is controlled by Shari Redstone, has been weighing a merger proposal from David Ellison, the head of Skydance Media and son of Oracle Corp.’s co-founder. A period of exclusive talks between Paramount’s board and Ellison is scheduled to end Friday. That proposed transaction, which involves buying out the controlling Redstone family at a premium and merging Ellison’s company into Paramount, has been criticized by other Paramount investors concerned about dilution of their holdings. Some have urged Paramount to consider other offers.

A special committee of Paramount directors went back to Ellison with a list of additional terms, which he largely matched, according to people familiar with the discussions. Ellison and his investors, which include RedBird Capital Partners, agreed to buy more Paramount nonvoting stock at a premium to sweeten the deal for the company’s other investors. The committee hasn’t yet decided whether to accept the offer.

Sony, already a major player in entertainment, is most interested in Paramount’s film and TV library. The deal being contemplated involves the Tokyo-based company acquiring a majority stake in the new venture, with Apollo as an investor. Still, a transaction involving a foreign owner and the consolidation potentially of two large Hollywood studios would likely face regulatory scrutiny.

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