Paramount Shelves Plan to Sell BET Media Group

Busta Rhymes (C) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award from (from L) DJ Scratchator, Spliff Star, Swizz Beatz, and Marlon Wayans onstage during the BET Awards 2023 at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Paramount Global has apparently decided not to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group.

After five months on the market, the company notified potential buyers on Wednesday, saying it was ending the bidding process, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night.

BET Media Group includes the BET cable network, BET+ streaming service, BET Her network, BET Digital, BET Studios (the production arm of BET), and VH1.

Sources told the WSJ, bids for the properties were lower than Paramount expected when it offered a majority stake in March.

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Paramount Global also owns CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime, and Paramount Pictures.

Selling off the BET brand would have provided an infusion of cash to invest in programming for its Paramount+ streaming platform and the company’s free Pluto TV streaming service.

Paramount planned to maintain a minority stake in the BET properties in order to continue a commercial relationship with the brand.

Earlier this month Paramount sold off book publisher Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKR for $1.62 billion.

After word emerged that BET Media Group was up for sale, Tyler Perry, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Byron Allen all expressed interest.

Diddy released a since-deleted statement on Instagram in March, saying he was “building a team” to purchase BET Media Group and make it “Black-owned again.”

Perry confirmed reports he was looking to buy BET in April. Perry already has a financial stake in the subscription-based BET+ service, which launched in 2019. The platform airs many of his shows, including The Oval, Bruh, and All the Queen’s Men.

Meanwhile, Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones are stakeholders in BET Studios.

The NY Post reported in June that the potential sale appeared to be unraveling because investors were balking at the “$3 billion-plus” asking price.

BET was founded in 1980 by Bob Johnson and his wife Sheila Johnson. Paramount, then known as Viacom, acquired BET in 2001 for a reported $2.3 billion.