50 Cent, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenya Barris each make bids for BET Networks

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A group of celebrities including 50 Cent, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenya Barris are each making an offer for a majority stake in BET Networks.

Several celebrities, including rapper 50 Cent, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and TV producer Kenya Barris, are preparing to bid for a majority stake in Paramount Global’s BET Media Group.

The trio have teamed up with Group Black, a company that aims to do just that invest investing in and growing black-run media companies, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners and Authentic Brands Group, which develops and licenses retail brands.

Advertisers have increased spending on minority-owned stores in recent years. One of Group Black’s goals is to increase the number of black-owned media through the acquisition of high-profile media brands, including Vice Media and BDG. However, contracts with these brands have not yet materialized.

The BET Media Group owns the cable networks VH1 and BET as well as the streaming service BET+. Paramount Global is looking to sell non-core assets, including its majority stake in BET, as the company allocates more resources to its streaming service, Paramount+.

Other celebrities interested in BET Media Group include actor and producer Tyler Perry (along with private equity firm Ariel Alternatives, a subsidiary of wealth management firm Ariel Investments) and musician Sean “Diddy” Combs (along with of the investment firm HarbourView Equity Partners). ) and his company Revolt.

Media entrepreneur Byron Allen, whose Allen Media Broadcasting includes assets including the Weather Channel and several local television stations, has expressed interest in acquiring a controlling interest in BET.

But potential bidders like Tyler Perry and Kenya Barris seem like more likely candidates given their existing ties to BET. Perry owns a minority stake in BET+, while Barris holds a minority stake in BET Studios, the brand’s production arm.

Black Entertainment Television was founded in 1980 by Robert Johnson with financial backing from cable mogul John Malone. BET was the first national programming service aimed primarily at black viewers. Viacom, now Paramount Global, acquired BET in 2000 for $2.3 billion in stock — and assumed the $570 million in debt.