Sean “Diddy” Combs is entering the race to buy BET, joining fellow media moguls Tyler Perry and Byron Allen as they vie to purchase a majority stake of BET Media Group amid reports that owner Paramount Global is exploring a sale of the asset, Variety has confirmed.
Run by CEO Scott Mills, BET Media Group includes BET, BET+, VH1 (which was moved under the group in a restructuring at Paramount last November) and BET’s production arm, BET Studios.
A source close to Combs says that the global music icon and record executive turned multi-industry entrepreneur is “exploring the opportunity to purchase BET as a part of his strategy to build a Black-owned global media powerhouse.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Paramount Global is interested in selling off BET in an article published last Monday, “The decision to consider selling a majority stake of the assets, which cater primarily to Black audiences, is part of the entertainment giant’s effort to shore up resources to bolster its flagship Paramount+ streaming service and its advertiser-supported free streaming platform Pluto TV, some of the people said.”
Last week, Variety confirmed that Perry has had early discussions about acquiring the network, while a spokesperson for Allen stated that the Allen Media Group founder is also “interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network.” The New York Times reported Friday that Group Black, a Black-owned, Miami-based media company, has also expressed interest. The company, founded in 2021 by Travis Montaque, Richelieu Dennis and Bonin Bough, recently put in a bid of $400 million for Vice Media and would be teaming up with CVC Capital Partners, a private-equity firm based in Luxembourg, as well as prominent Black artists and businesspeople for the potential BET deal.
Perry currently owns a minority stake in BET and also produces a large portion of the programming available on BET and streamer BET+, which he helped launch in 2019.
Allen acquired the Black News Channel for $11 million, which joins The Weather Channel along with digital outlets such as Local Now, HBCU GO and TheGrio. Allen Media Group has also invested over $1 billion in the last 3 years to acquire 27 ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates. S: Variety