Paramount Stock Rises Over 5% Amid Renewed BET Network Sale Talks

A group that includes BET CEO Scott Mills and CC Capital’s Chinh Chu is looking to offer between $1.6-$1.7 billion, according to Bloomberg

UKRAINE – 2023/03/11: In this photo illustration, BET (Black Entertainment Television) logo is seen on a smartphone and on a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Shares of Paramount Global jumped over 5% on Tuesday following reports that the media conglomerate is in talks to sell the BET Network to a group that includes BET CEO Scott Mills and Chinh Chu, founder and senior managing director of the New York-based private equity firm CC Capital.

Bloomberg noted that the group, which previously discussed an offer just under $2 billion back in December, is now looking to offer between $1.6-$1.7 billion, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Representatives for Paramount and CC Capital declined to comment. Mills did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

The renewed effort to sell the Black Entertainment Television network comes after Paramount backed off talks in August 2023 to sell its majority stake. At the time, the company had received interest from Tyler Perry, Allen Media Group founder Byron Allen and Miami-based media company Group Black. Perry publicly criticized the previous bidding process, calling it “disrespectful” at an event hosted by Bloomberg in October.

BET Media Group includes the BET, BET Gospel, BET HER, BET International, BET Jams and BET Soul channels, BET Studios, streaming service BET+ and VH1.

BET was first launched in 1980 by founder Robert Johnson as a channel specifically aimed at Black audiences. Paramount would then acquire BET in 2000 for $2.3 billion.

Bloomberg’s report also comes after Paramount’s new co-CEOs Brian Robbins, Chris McCarthy and George Cheeks revealed at an employee town hall last week that they had hired bankers to pursue asset sales in order to help reduce the company’s $14.6 billion in debt.

Four individuals familiar with the matter previously confirmed to TheWrap that, in addition to BET and VH1, other possible assets on the chopping block could include Pluto TV and the Paramount lot, which would be leased back for the studio’s use.

In addition to divesting assets, the trio revealed that efforts are underway to cut $500 million in costs in areas including legal and corporate marketing and that they are advancing talks with potential partners in international markets that will “significantly transform the scale and economics” of its streaming business, which is currently on track to reach domestic profitability in 2025.

The company has said it would team up with other streamers or technology platforms on a joint venture or long-term partnership. CNBC reported on Monday that Warner Bros. Discovery is interested in a potential merger of Max and Paramount+.

Robbins, McCarthy and Cheeks — who replaced longtime CEO Bob Bakish in April — are executing on their strategy while controlling shareholder Shari Redstone weighs her options after scrapping a merger deal with David Ellison’s Skydance Media last month.

In addition to Skydance, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management have submitted a joint $26 billion all cash offer. Allen also placed a $30 billion bid including debt, though it is unclear how that bid would be financed. Additionally, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav met with former Paramount CEO Bakish about a potential merger, though those talks were later halted. 

Separately, “Baby Geniuses” producer Steven Paul, former Warner Music Group CEO and chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr and IAC chairman Barry Diller have all expressed interest to Redstone’s holding company National Amusements about acquiring control of Paramount.


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