Byron Allen is making a play for Paramount.
The comic-turned media mogul has made a $14.3 billion offer to buy all outstanding shares Paramount Global, according to a statement from Allen’s company.
The deal would also see Allen Media Group assume Paramount’s roughly $15 billion debt load, valuing the shares at about a 50% premium to their recent trading prices.
“Mr. 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,” the statement said. “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.”
Allen’s AMG owns The Weather Channel, a number of local TV stations, The Grio, and a syndicated TV content business, among other ventures.
The mogul, who began his career in Hollywood as a stand-up comedian (he still occasionally performs), is known for his aggressive negotiating tactics, and an unflinching desire to grow his business. AMG added a handful of new board members late last year as it sought new expansion opportunities.
It is not clear who Allen’s strategic partners are in the offer, or if there any contingencies.
“You know how you can sum up Byron is his chess game,” Eddie Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter in a 2020 profile of Allen. “Byron played a lot of chess back in the early days. There was a group of people in town, like Berry Gordy and Jim Brown, who would fly in good players. I played Byron a lot. I’m a much better chess player than Byron. Like, nobody beats me. If I had played Byron on the clock, I would have killed Byron. But we didn’t play on the clock — we just played. And that’s Byron’s game. He’s super patient. He takes a long time between every move. He does it until you get frustrated — and then you do something stupid, and then all he needs is a little tiny crack. Just a pawn, any type of advantage, and he had you. That is Byron in a nutshell.”
Allen has also circled Paramount before. Last March, he was among the bidders (alongside Tyler Perry and Sean “Diddy” Combs) who explored acquiring BET from the company, before it decided not to part ways with the division.
Bloomberg first reported the offer.
More to come.