Byron Allen Offers Paramount $3.5 Billion in Renewed Bid for BET

Paramount pulled back a planned auction of the cable channel earlier this year

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Byron Allen is taking another swing at BET Media Group. On Wednesday, the mogul offered $3.5 billion to Paramount Global in a renewed attempt to acquire the Black culture-oriented cable company, TheWrap has confirmed.

Paramount Global began exploring the sale of BET in March, part of an effort to generate cash in support of, among other things, Paramount+. But the company backed away from that plan in August, when it informed bidders the sale wouldn’t generate a significant enough amount of money.

It’s not known precisely why Allen chose this moment to try again, but in a remarkable coincidence — or, perhaps not — his new offer comes on the same day that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with his counterpart at Paramount Global to discuss a potential merger between the two entertainment giants.

Such a deal would mark an escalation in the wave of consolidating that has beset Hollywood over the last decade. Most notably, Disney bought out 21st Century’s assets in 2021, while Amazon recently purchased MGM — and naturally Warner Bros. Discovery was formed in 2022 when Discovery merged with WarnerMedia.

But that merger would also create a very different financial landscape for Paramount — and perhaps different incentives regarding the sale or retention of BET.

Earlier this year, aside from Allen, Tyler Perry tried to buy BET, as did Shaquille O’Neal in partnership with Group Black, rapper and producer 50 Cent, and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris. We’ll be keeping an eye out for potential new bids from any or all of them.

BET was launched in 1980 by founder Robert Johnson as a channel specifically aimed at African American audiences. Paramount acquired BET in 2000 for $2.3 billion.

Variety first reported Allen’s new attempt to purchase BET.

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