Media mogul Byron Allen is not backing down in his quest to acquire BET, making a substantial offer to the network’s current owners and implementing changes within his own company that suggest a potential breakthrough in the deal.
Reports indicate that Allen, a billionaire media entrepreneur, recently extended an offer to Paramount Global, the current owner of Black Entertainment Network (BET), surpassing their initial asking price. Paramount has been in talks to sell BET, and earlier this year, notable Black billionaires, including Tyler Perry and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, were reportedly vying for the iconic network. However, negotiations hit a roadblock when Paramount purportedly ended the bidding process, citing a reluctance to meet their $3 billion valuation. Now, it seems Allen has revised his stance.
In an email addressed to Paramount Global senior executives and the board, Allen expressed his willingness to acquire the network for $3.5 billion, a significant increase from his original bid of $2.7 billion. If successful, Allen’s media conglomerate, Allen Media Group, would take ownership of BET Media Group, encompassing the BET cable channel, VH1, BET Studios, and the streaming service BET+. While there were considerations within Paramount to potentially lower the network’s price for a sale to current CEO Scott Mills or the Blackstone private equity firm, Allen voiced his disagreement in the email, stating:
“You are pursuing an inside sale at a below-market price with management that will not yield the highest price for the stockholders. We believe it would be an egregious breach of fiduciary duty by the Paramount Global management team and board of directors if BET is sold for anything less than the highest price, particularly, in order to provide a sweetheart deal to an insider at the expense of public shareholders”.
While the success of Allen’s bid remains unconfirmed, recent reports suggest that significant changes are underway within his own company. Allen has expanded his board of directors from three individuals, including himself, his mother and film producer Carolyn Folks, and COO Terence Hill, to nine individuals. This move signals an expansion of Allen’s media empire, which currently includes 12 cable networks (including the Weather Channel), JusticeCentral.TV, Cars.TV, Pets.TV, a theatrical movie distribution company, and 28 broadcast stations affiliated with major networks.
“For the past 30 years, I’ve been working with a small board of three directors, but now that Allen Media Group is much bigger as we’ve become highly acquisitive, I am excited to announce the addition of these six new board members. I am extremely proud of this board because it is diverse, and the people who make it up are simply the best because they know our business and the media space innately, which allows us to move quickly and efficiently in this rapidly changing landscape”.
While updates on Allen’s potential acquisition of BET are pending, these recent developments underscore the dynamic shifts within the media landscape and hint at the mogul’s determination to reshape the industry.
Derek Chan – Editor