It looks like BET becoming Black-owned again is a dream deferred for now.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Paramount is no longer interested in moving forward with bids — ranging from $2 billion to $3 billion — for the sale of a majority stake in BET Media Group including the BET channel, BET+, VH1, and BET Studios. The leading entertainment company, which has owned BET since 2000, shared its reasoning as “a sale wouldn’t result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balance sheet,” according to the outlet.
The decision came after nearly five months of receiving interest from potential buyers. About a week prior to the announcement on Aug.16, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish was asked about the sale’s status.
“We’re always looking for ways to maximize shareholder value,” Bakish shared during a Paramount earnings call, per The Hollywood Reporter. “And as we said before, that might involve divesting, acquiring or potentially partnering on assets, all of which we’ve done. But other than that, I’m not going to comment on anything specifically.”
As previously reported by AfroTech, the likes of Tyler Perry, Sean “Diddy” Combs, 50 Cent, Shaquille O’Neal, Byron Allen, and Kenya Barris were interested in securing the majority stake. Being that BET is the home of Perry’s shows such as “Sistas,” “The Oval,” and “House of Payne,” he was highly drawn to acquire the network.
“Part of it is — and I’ve read about Byron Allen and [Diddy] and everybody wanting to bid and so on and so forth, and I think it’s really great,” he previously told Entertainment Tonight. “This is what I love about it. When [BET co-founder] Bob Johnson sold it in 2000, I think it was, there wasn’t one Black person who could buy it. So now, to see all of these Black people, men and women, who are able to be in a position to buy it? Man, that makes me feel really, really excited.”