• Reuters

Byron Allen Seeks Television Assets in Paramount Bid

REUTERS/David Swanson/File Photo
Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios and Allen Media Group, speaks at the 2021 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., October 19, 2021.

Media mogul Byron Allen is focused on acquiring Paramount Global’s PARAO television networks and stations, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, as part of a $14 billion offer to buy the company.

He envisions selling off key assets including the studio lot in Los Angeles, the film studio, Paramount Pictures, and popular franchises, such as “Top Gun,” “The Godfather” and “Beverly Hills Cop,” according to one person familiar with the matter.

Allen, who last year made an offer to acquire Walt Disney’s ABC network and other TV assets, is interested in Paramount’s CBS broadcast network, its sports and news operations and its local stations.

These assets would augment Allen Media Group’s television holdings, with its 28 network-affiliated stations in 21 markets and cable portfolio that includes The Weather Channel and Comedy.TV,

The comedian and producer has bet on television at a time when it has fallen out of favor among major media companies.

“Byron Allen did submit a bid on behalf of Allen Media Group and its strategic partners to purchase all of Paramount Global’s outstanding shares,” Allen Media Group said Tuesday in a statement.

“We believe 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.”

Paramount could not be reached for comment on Allen’s offer, which was first reported by Bloomberg. The company is contemplating a sale, as the deterioration of the global entertainment business has wiped out more than $16 billion in value from the media company formed through the hard-fought reunion of CBS and Viacom in 2019.

In September, Allen offered $10 billion for the ABC network and other television assets in a text to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who later elected not to sell. Allen also sought a minority stake in Paramount’s BET and VH1, though the media company dropped the sale process after failing to get a satisfactory bid.

Allen is not the only prospective suitor for Paramount. Skydance Media, Warner Bros Discovery and Apollo Global all have expressed interest.

David Ellison’s Skydance is in discussions with Paramount, working under a non-disclosure agreement as it gathers information before making a decision about a possible transaction as part of due diligence, according to another source familiar with the matter.

A Skydance spokesperson declined comment.

Ellison is exploring making a bid to acquire entertainment giant Paramount’s parent company, National Amusements, and subsequently merging Paramount with Skydance, the company behind such films as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”