(Bloomberg) -- Paramount Global surged in New York trading Tuesday after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported purchasing an 11% stake in the media company, becoming the largest holder of nonvoting shares.
Shares of Paramount rose as much as 15% to $32.32 in New York, the biggest intraday gain since January 2021, when the company was known as ViacomCBS Inc.
Berkshire invested $2.61 billion for 68.9 million Class B shares of New York-based Paramount, according to a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The voting shares are controlled by National Amusements Inc., led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s chairwoman.
Berkshire may be betting on Paramount as a potential acquisition target. Like other media companies, Paramount is pushing hard into streaming: It’s the owner of the Paramount+ and Pluto online TV services. But Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan said the company’s best path may be to tie up with another company.
“Despite its streaming success, we expect Paramount to remain subscale, suggesting that it eventually will have to sell itself to a bigger media company or a deep-pocketed tech giant,” Ranganathan said in a note. The company’s “digestible size (enterprise value around $35 billion), streaming success and content-production capabilities that include a film studio make Paramount an attractive target.”
Through Monday’s close, Paramount had declined 7.2% this year, less than the S&P 500’s 16% drop.
Berkshire also disclosed new stakes in banking companies Ally Financial Inc. and Citigroup Inc. Buffett’s assistant didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A press representative for Paramount also didn’t immediately respond.
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