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Paramount’s Decision: BET Majority Stake Not For Sale Despite Interest from Industry Heavyweights

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Paramount Global has concluded its deliberations and opted against selling a majority stake in its BET Media Group, which encompasses the BET channel, BET+ streaming service, VH1, and BET Studios, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

This decision comes after high-profile figures such as Tyler Perry, Byron Allen, and Sean “Diddy” Combs publicly expressed interest in acquiring a significant interest in the media group. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on Paramount’s move to cease the bidding process for BET.

Tyler Perry, who has an existing content partnership with Paramount, and Byron Allen, known for his TV station empire, had shown keen interest in the acquisition. Similarly, Sean “Diddy” Combs, with his Revolt network, had explored the possibility of expanding his television presence through this acquisition.

During a recent earnings call on August 7, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish alluded to the potential sale without directly mentioning BET, stating, “We’re always looking for ways to maximize shareholder value. And as we said before, that might involve divesting, acquiring or potentially partnering on assets, all of which we’ve done. But other than that, I’m not going to comment on anything specifically.”

Paramount has held ownership of BET since 2000, when it was acquired by Viacom for $2.3 billion in stock and $570 million in debt under the leadership of Sumner Redstone. Despite the changing landscape of the entertainment industry and the rise of streaming, Paramount has been strategically repositioning its assets to focus on core entertainment offerings, including Paramount Pictures, CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, Paramount+, and Pluto TV.

The decision to retain BET as part of its portfolio follows Paramount’s recent divestitures, including a $1.62 billion deal with KKR to sell major book publisher Simon & Schuster. Paramount has also previously sold CNET for $500 million in 2020 and offloaded real estate assets.

In an industry affected by cord-cutting and shifting consumer preferences, Paramount’s linear channels have experienced challenges. The company reported a decline of 2 percent in affiliate and subscription revenue at its TV Media unit in the most recent quarter, attributed to subscriber declines offset by pricing increases.

While the sale of BET’s majority stake has been put to rest, Paramount’s strategic evolution within the ever-changing media landscape continues to shape its future endeavors.

Written by:
Dana Sterling-Editor

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