Paramount Global mulls sale of majority stake in BET

March 7, 2023 3:23 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Paramount Global (PARA.O) is mulling the possible sale of a majority stake in BET Media Group, which includes the BET cable network, BET Studios and VH1, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The company believes BET, an entertainment brand focused on the Black community and culture, would attract substantial interest from Black investors or institutions, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

BET drew an immediate expression of interest from Byron Allen, whose Allen Media Group’s assets include The Weather Channel. A spokesperson for Allen Media Group said it “will be pursuing the acquisition of the network.”

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Media mogul Tyler Perry, the actor and producer best known for the “Madea” movie franchise, also is interested in bidding, according to the Wall Street Journal and various Hollywood trade publications.

A spokesperson for Perry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Perry has a longstanding relationship with Paramount, partnering with the media company to launch the BET+ subscription service in 2019. He retains a minority stake in the service.

Paramount also formed BET Studios in 2021 through a partnership with “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, actress Rashida Jones and “S.W.A.T” co-creator Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

Paramount hopes to maintain a minority stake to benefit from any value that might be unlocked by the transaction, the source said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Paramount was exploring a possible sale of BET as it looks to improve its balance sheet.