Former Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Is Back—And Offering $2 Billion for Paramount

Edgar Bronfman Jr paramount bid
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Edgar Bronfman Jr paramount bid
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Photo Credit: Christopher Peterson / CC by 3.0

Former Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. has teamed up with private investment firm Bain Capital to place an offer of $2 billion on Paramount Global.

National Amusements Inc. holds 77% of the voting shares in Paramount and is owned by Shari Redstone—the daughter of late media mogul Sumner Redstone. The interest in acquiring Paramount comes as NAI seeks to share a majority stake to Skydance Media. Paramount owns CBS, its movie studios, and networks including Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bronfman and Bain are not the only interested parties; Hollywood producer Steven Paul is also said to be lining up a nearly $3 billion offer for the controlling interest in Paramount. Bronfman and Bain have not made a formal offer yet and it’s unclear what their plans for Paramount would be should the bid succeed.

Shari Redstone has been negotiating with Skydance and financial backers including RedBird Capital and KKR over a potential merger. Those terms would see Skydance pay Redstone around $2 billion for NAI while current Paramount Class B shareholders (no voting rights) would be offered cash at a rate of $15 per share. If that transaction is successful, Skydance would own two-thirds of Paramount’s shares and the company would remain public.

Other parties said to be interested in buying NAI include Steven Paul, Sony Pictures and Apollo Global Management—though Sony Pictures recently backed away from its interest in the deal. In March 2024, Paramount Global’s debt rating was cut to junk status by S&P Global, citing the media conglomerate’s ongoing challenges with free cash flow relative to the debt on its books.

“Paramount will need to execute its plan to substantially improve streaming losses over the next two years to mitigate further downside ratings pressure,” S&P Global said in a statement after its ratings adjustment. Paramount Global’s long-term debt stands at $14.6 billion as of the end of 2023. This credit-rating cut has brought potential buyers out of the woodwork for the ailing streaming service.

Edgar Bronfman Jr. was the chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group from 2004 through 2012, stepping down after it was acquired by Access Industries. Before serving as Warner Music CEO, Bronfman was CEO of Seagram before selling the business to Vivendi in 2000. He currently serves as the executive chairman of Fubo—a sports-focused streaming service.