Paramount Global Stock Rises On Report Of Revived BET Sale Talks

Paramount Global stock jumped 6% on Tuesday on the latest report the company has resumed talking to potential buyers of select assets after pausing the divestments during ultimately fruitless merger talks with Skydance Media.

A group of investors is holding exclusive talks with Paramount about a bid of $1.6 billion for BET Media Group, Bloomberg reported today. Among the cadre of potential buyers are BET CEO Scott Mills and Chinh Chu, the former Blackstone exec who now runs New York-based private equity firm CC Capital.

Paramount’s battered stock, which slipped below $10 last month, closed Tuesday at $10.72 on average trading volume. It was the highest closing price for the shares since the abrupt end of merger talks with Skydance on June 12.

BET Media, which includes the flagship cable TV channel, a studio, subscription streaming outlet BET+ and an events business, has been in play over the past few years, with Paramount stating its intention to sell its majority stake to a Black buyer. Byron Allen and Tyler Perry are among those who have put forward offers. Mills and Chu had previously put in a bid for BET and reportedly got the conversations going again after the Shari Redstone-controlled Paramount pulled out of a planned combination with Skydance at the eleventh hour.

At Paramount’s annual shareholder meeting last month, the company’s leadership made no bones about its plans to continue to pursue asset sales. Since the close of the Viacom-CBS merger, which created what is now Paramount in 2019, the company has shed book publisher Simon & Schuster and real estate holdings in New York and Los Angeles. Members of the Office of the CEO revealed at the shareholder meeting that they plan to make moves resulting in $500 million in annual cost savings. “We also want to ensure we have the right asset mix to meet this moment,” co-CEO George Cheeks said at the meeting. “In fact, we’re already in talks to divest some of our assets to unlock value.”

Repaying debt has long been a strategic objective for Paramount, which is now pursuing a three-pronged process of cost reductions, streaming business improvements and asset sales. At the end of 2023, Paramount’s long-term debt stood at $14.6 billion. In March, S&P cut its rating on Paramount’s debt to junk status, citing pressures on its traditional TV business.

(Excerpt) Read more in: Deadline

Paramount Global Stock Rises On Report Of Revived BET Sale Talks

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