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BET Assets on the Block: Paramount’s Next Move Unveiled

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Private equity firm CC Capital is reportedly supporting BET leader Scott Mills in a bid to acquire the BET Media Group assets.

Amidst multiple attempts in the past, Paramount Global is reigniting efforts to sell off its BET Media Group assets. The media company, controlled by Shari Redstone, is currently in discussions with CC Capital’s Chinh Chu, whose private equity firm is backing BET president Scott Mills in the acquisition bid for the BET assets, as per a report by Bloomberg. Paramount and CC Capital have refrained from making any official comments on the matter.

The BET Media Group unit, which includes the BET channel, BET+ streaming service, as well as VH1 and BET Studios, has been on the market as Paramount reevaluates its portfolio in light of evolving corporate strategies and executive transitions. Scott Mills, a longstanding figure at BET since 1997, has taken on various leadership roles within the parent company and assumed oversight of VH1 in 2022.

Paramount’s recent “slim down to scale up” phase, spearheaded by former CEO Bob Bakish, involved shedding non-core assets like Simon & Schuster, CNET, and CBS’ Black Rock headquarters. However, with mounting losses in streaming services like Paramount+, the company seems to be shifting gears under the new leadership of co-chiefs Brian Robbins, Chris McCarthy, and George Cheeks.

Despite previous interest from industry heavyweights Tyler Perry and Byron Allen in acquiring the BET assets, Paramount leadership had not found a suitable deal until now. The company faces a dilemma regarding the future of linear TV brands like BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central amidst a declining pay TV landscape.

The decision to resume talks with potential buyers follows a recent town hall meeting where Paramount executives confirmed the hiring of bankers to facilitate the sale of certain assets. Co-CEO Cheeks emphasized the importance of using the proceeds to reduce debt and bolster the company’s financial position.

BET has been under the Paramount umbrella since Viacom’s acquisition of Black Entertainment Television in 2000. With Paramount aiming to cut costs by $500 million annually, Shari Redstone’s upcoming decisions will play a crucial role in shaping the company’s future direction.

As BET sales talks gather momentum, Paramount’s stock saw a 5 percent increase, closing at $10.72 per share on Tuesday.

Written by
Derek Chan

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