Paramount Global Investigates Sale of Majority Stake in BET – Deadline

Paramount Global is in exploratory talks to sell a majority stake in BET Media.

The company has been quite clear about its desire to explore fundraising opportunities, including an attempt to sell publisher Simon & Shuster.

The move with BET Media was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. The company declined to comment.

The division includes the BET Linear Networks, BET+ (a 2019 venture with Tyler Perry), BET Studios, which launched in 2021 with partners Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rashon Thomas, and VHI, which moved under the BET umbrella last year.

A person familiar with the situation said Paramount would retain a minority stake as well as commercial agreements with BET for content on its platforms.

Given BET’s iconic status within black culture and the black creative community, it could potentially see interest from black wealthy individuals or minority-owned institutions.

BET, or Black Entertainment Television, was founded in 1980 by Robert Johnson, the first cable channel to target a black audience. It was acquired by Viacom in 2001 in a $3 billion deal.

Paramount’s $2.2 billion deal to sell book publisher Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House fell through due to regulatory concerns, but it has made it clear that this is a non-core capital and remains on the block. In recent years, it has sold the CBS NYC headquarters, known as Black Rock, and the website CNet. It turned down offers for Showtime and announced other plans for that asset, namely merging with Paramount+ in streaming and linear TV.

While the parent company focuses on streaming, like most major media companies, it spends heavily on content and anticipates peak losses in that business this year.

The talks around BET come as the M&A chatter flares up in various areas of the media and entertainment. Lachlan Murdoch recently said that Fox Corp. the asset will pursue, that WME is looking to sell itself, that Hulu may be up for grabs, and that Cineworld is marketing its global theatrical assets as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy, just to name a few.


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