The billionaire boys’ club wants a stake in Black Entertainment Television. Tyler Perry, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, and business magnate Byron Allen have all pitched a bid to buy BET.
“It always baffled my mind how we as Black folk have never unified our super powers to do business together and that has to stop,” Combs wrote, in an Instagram post explaining why he wants to buy the network. “The only way for us to progress and to elevate is through unity!! It’s not about me it’s about we. The purpose is bigger than the moment!”
A spokesman for Allen said, “Byron Allen is interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network.”
Perry, who has a strong relationship with BET CEO Scott Mills as well as Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish, has expressed interest to Paramount in owning the asset as his own producing deal with BET is coming to an end, according to Deadline. The Atlanta-based director partnered with Paramount on its streaming launch and provides a significant portion of scripted content on BET and BET+.
The cable television network was founded in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson and was sold to Viacom, now Paramount, for reportedly $2.9 billion. It is the first television network targeted toward African American audiences, and it has since become a significant voice for Black culture in media. BET has aired various programs such as news, talk shows, movies, and music videos, featuring Black artists and personalities. It has also expanded its reach to digital media with BET.com and BET+.
If successful in their bids, Combs, Perry, and Allen would have access to an expanded network. Last year, VH1 was brought under the BET umbrella, and the BET division now comprises BET linear networks, BET+, and BET Studios, which was established in 2021 with partners Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones, and Aaron Rashon Thomas.
For Black consumers, BET represents a platform that showcases their experiences and cultural identity in the mainstream media. The network has been instrumental in promoting Black excellence and highlighting the struggles and achievements of Black communities. It has also provided a platform for emerging Black talent, such as actors, musicians, and filmmakers, to showcase their work.
Discussions on the sale remain in the early stages, and if a deal comes to pass, Paramount would reportedly retain a minority stake in BET, according to The Black Wall Street Times.
View this post on Instagram