Tyler Perry may be close to scoring a majority stake in BET. Well, that’s if billionaire media mogul Byron Allen doesn’t beat him to the chase.
According to Variety, Perry is in talks to possibly acquire the popular black entertainment-focused network from Paramount. Allen who owns The Weather Channel, Fox Sports and several other broadcast television networks is also “interested in buying BET,” and he will be actively “pursuing the acquisition of the network,” according to sources.
The news comes as Paramount, the company that owns BET, debates on whether to sell the iconic network and its assets.
“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,” execs from the company said, according to The Wall Street Journal, who first reported the news.
For Perry, landing a large share of BET’s potential sales could be easy because he already owns a minority stake in the company run by CEO Scott Mills. Over the last year, the award-winning producer and actor has created a variety of content for the network and its streaming division BET+, which he helped to launch in 2019.
Tyler Perry-produced shows like House of Payne, Sistas and Ruthless have been drawing in millions of views monthly. The star’s personal film collection also streams regularly on the network.
According to the report, Perry’s relationship with BET dates back to 2005 when the network helped him to fund his first feature film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
“In 2017, Perry endeavored on a long-term film deal with Paramount, with a TV deal that began in May 2020. The partnership has been a lucrative and successful endeavor for Perry, Paramount Global president and CEO Bob Bakish and BET’s Mills,” Variety noted.
Who is Byron Allen?
Perry sits among a star-studded list of minority stakeholders in the company that include celebs like Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones, so he has a big advantage ahead of Allen. But let there be no mistake. With over two decades of film and entrepreneurial experience in the media industry, Allen boasts a heavy resume that would make him a serious candidate for the sale.
Allen took off in the TV world after he launched his first series Entertainers with Byron Allen in 1993. That same year, he founded his iconic media company Entertainment Studios, and the rest was history. After years of success in the industry, Allen and his company purchased The Weather Channel in 2018 for a whopping $300 million. Now, through his company, the talented media businessman owns ABC, TheGrio, CBS, The Black News Channel and a slew of other networks.
If Paramount agrees to sell, the company will be leaving the network in good hands, no matter who ends up scoring the deal. Both TV titans could certainly bring a wealth of expertise to the network with their incredible knowledge of the entertainment industry.
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