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Fox, Skydance interested in Paramount, but not as passive investors

21st Century FoxInc. and Skydance Media are interestedin acquiring Viacom Inc.'sParamount Pictures unit outright rather than be passive investors, Variety reported March 30, citing sources.

Viacom, however, is not shopping the studio around and wouldprefer to have investors buy a 20% to 40% stake in the studio. Proceeds from thesale of the stake would go toward the debt and grow the studio, according to commentsViacom Chairman Philippe Dauman made in February. Interest is not capped to Skydanceand Fox as the studio is drawing the interestof more than three dozen parties.

Viacom values Paramount between $4 billion and $5 billion. Butsome investors say the price is not justified given the studio's declining EBITDAover recent years.