Paramount decides to no longer sell BET and other properties
BET, Black Entertainment Television, was founded by a black man during the 1980s. Robert Johnson had a dream of creating a television network with content targeting black families. During the ’90s, BET became the first black-operated company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
The media company thrived throughout the 90s and in 2001 Johnson sold it to what was then Viacom.
Viacom, now known as Paramount, has owned BET for the past 22 years. It is a publicly traded media conglomerate that also owns other recognized brands such as MTV, VH1, CBS, and more.
Paramount had previously announced plans to sell BET and VH1. Many popular entertainers and prominent figures within the Black media expressed interest in buying BET. Tyler Perry was one of the bidders.
Perry’s goal was to make BET a Black-owned organization, representing the very community that the company name bears. Perry reportedly owns 25% of BET streaming services and wanted to make a bid to completely own the entire organization. The New York Post is reporting that Paramount was asking for $3 billion, but Perry only submitted a bid for $2 billion. Entertainment mogul Byron Allen, a former comedian and founder of Entertainment Studios, had also entered a bid for BET, submitting $3 billion, but reportedly submitted his bid too late.
So, Paramount has scrapped the idea of selling the properties and is no longer accepting bids. Now, the same old question comes up again… “Will BET ever become black-owned again?”