Paramount Global has decided not to sell its majority stake in BET Media Group. The conglomerate reportedly considered selling the stakes as early as this past March.
BET Media Group includes the BET cable network, the BET+ streaming service and the VH1 cable network. Paramount stated it decided that a sale of the majority stake wouldn’t end with any worthwhile reduction in the company’s liabilities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The decision is likely based on the television market evolving its focus from traditional cable companies to streaming platforms. Nielsen, a leading TV-measurement service, reported that for the first time in U.S. history last month, television accounted for less than 50 percent of total viewing time.
Paramount Global received bids for BET Media Group from potential buyers that ranged between $2 billion and $3 billion. The company, which owns the Paramount movie company, CBS and Nickelodeon, informed all parties who placed bids that the sale is off.
Byron Allen, CEO of Allen Media Group and owner of theGrio, is one of the people who expressed interest in purchasing BET from Paramount.
Along with Allen, media mogul Tyler Perry and Bad Boy Entertainment founder Sean “Diddy” Combs put in bids for BET. Perry received backing from Ariel Alternatives, a private equity firm and subsidiary of Ariel Investments. Combs got support from investment firm HarbourView Equity Partners.
Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, writer-director Kenya Barris, rapper 50 Cent and Group Black all reportedly came together to bid for BET.
Paramount Global’s initial interest in unloading its majority stakes in BET Media Group was part of a plan to sell noncore assets to shift focus to its streaming service, Paramount+.
While the sale of BET is off the table, Paramount has already agreed to sell publishing company Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKP for $1.62 billion.