Remember those rumors, oh, eight years ago about how Sony was a target for acquisition?

No more. Still, don’t say merger yet.

Deadline has confirmed that Sony Picture Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra has been in talks with Apollo Global Management about making a go for Paramount. This despite Skydance/Redbird Capital being in exclusive talks with Paramount Global‘s majority shareholder National Amusements to take control of the studio.

The Apollo and Sony deal is reportedly an all-cash one for outstanding stock in Paramount, in total making the studio private through a joint venture per the New York Times. It’s not clear how Sony would be involved, if it’s merely in management expertise. Our understanding at this point is that Apollo is doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

Paramount’s beaten-down stock jumped 12% in after-hours trading as investors processed the scenario. There has recently been more enthusiasm for the Apollo bid, which at one point was reported as a $26 billion take-private offer, than that of David Ellison’s Skydance. That preference has been expressed despite the fact that Skydance and its backers are in exclusive deal talks with National Amusements, Paramount’s controlling shareholder.

Sony’s involvement would add another wrinkle, especially for the traditional film and TV sectors, as two Hollywood majors would potentially be able to combine operations. Vinciquerra also brought to his current role a significant background in television, having held exec posts at both Fox and CBS.

While there’s a disdain among some in Hollywood about private equity getting their hands into a conglomerate and breaking it up, a Sony and Apollo partnership is a different scenario. There’s plenty for the Culver City lot to dream about here: long billed in the streaming era as an arms dealer in content as they avoided the multi-billion start up costs of an OTT service, Sony in Paramount+ would now have direct access to one; the former’s current streaming pay one window being with Netflix. On top of that there’s a grand dynasty marriage in combining both studio’s feature and TV IP, no to mention Sony gets to scale up in a big way. However, whether that scenario occurs remains to be seen as it’s still early and Skydance is in pole position for Paramount Global.

Sony and Apollo did not return request for comment.



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