Paramount Aborts BET Sale After Unfruitful Bidding Process
The American conglomerate has dropped auction plans for Black Entertainment Television (BET) after bids from prospective buyers fall short of expectations. By: Theng Min Yee
Paramount Global has decided against proceeding with its earlier intentions to sell a majority stake in its BET division, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal (TWSJ). Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the media conglomerate has opted to shelve the plans, which had emerged in March. Notably, media mogul Tyler Perry and rapper Sean 'Diddy' Combs had been speculated as potential buyers during the preliminary discussions.
Initially, Paramount Global had been exploring the option of retaining a minority stake in BET if a deal had come to fruition. Bids for the majority stake were reportedly submitted, ranging from approximately $2 billion to $3 billion. However, the TWSJ report outlines that Paramount chose to terminate the sale process, as it believed that such a transaction would not significantly alleviate its financial liabilities.
Paramount Global has been actively seeking ways to cut costs and generate capital as it channels substantial investments into its streaming service, Paramount+, which was making losses. As part of a comprehensive effort to reduce expenses, the company executed layoffs, cancelled shows, and revealed plans to integrate Showtime and Paramount+ across both linear television and streaming platforms in the US.
In a recent development, Paramount Global sold its publishing subsidiary, Simon & Schuster, for around $1.62 billion to private equity firm KKR. This decision followed a thwarted attempt to sell the publishing company for $2.2 billion to Penguin Random House, following a block by a federal judge in the US.
Founded in 1980 by cable lobbyist Robert L. Johnson, BET was acquired by Paramount Global (formerly Viacom) for approximately $2.3 billion in 2000. Under the leadership of CEO Scott Mills, BET Media Group claims to be the world's largest media company dedicated to promoting black culture and storytelling.
BET Studios was established in 2021 with the objective of providing black creators with greater equity ownership in their TV and film projects. Additionally, the streaming service BET+ expanded its offerings by introducing an ad-supported tier in June.
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