Tyler Perry, Byron Allen reportedly among those interested in BET Networks
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Paramount Global is reportedly considering selling the bulk of its BET Networks division, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The group includes BET, streamer BET+ and VH1.
BET, which has been part of Paramount since 2000 when the company, then known as Viacom, bought it for $2.3 billion. Viacom first bought into VH1 in 1985 before gaining full interest the following year.
Tyler Perry, an actor and producer who now controls a large media empire first partnered with BET in 2017 to produce a variety of programming for the channel, which is aimed at a Black audience.
Byron Allen, whose Entertainment Studios controls The Weather Channel and a portfolio of smaller cable networks, is also reportedly interested in BET Networks. There has also reportedly been interest from others.
Sources say that Paramount would sell its majority stake of the channel to a new party, but still retain at least some ownership, similar to the way it sold the bulk of The CW network to Nexstar in late 2022.
BET Networks has an unusual ownership structure within Paramount, with different parties owning different stakes it and its various offerings. For example, Perry already has a stake in BET+, while Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones have stakes in its BET Studios brand.
Selling off the majority of BET Networks would boost Paramount’s cash position, which could prove vital as it continues to invest heavily in streaming. The company previously announced it would combine the operations of Paramount+ and Showtime.
Meanwhile, Perry’s ownership could represent another high-profile move for the mogul, who has also invested in building his own studio complex in Georgia to support production of programming he has a hand in.
It could also be a major acquisition for Allen. While The Weather Channel is a household name, his other networks are less well-known and grabbing the BET and VH1 brands would signify a big jump for him.
Having a person of color take over the majority of BET Networks could also make the network eligible to be considered a minority-owned business, or MBE, and open it up to opportunities with companies who have announced pledges to buy more from them.
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