Tyler Perry in Talks to Buy Majority Stake in BET as Byron Allen Also Pursues Network
Media moguls Tyler Perry and Byron Allen are vying to purchase a majority stake of BET Media Group amid reports that owner Paramount Global is exploring a sale of the asset.
Variety has confirmed that Perry is in talks to acquire the network, while a spokesperson for Allen stated that the Allen Media Group founder is also “interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network.”
Perry currently owns a minority stake in the operation run by CEO Scott Mills, which includes cablers BET and VH1, and also produces a large portion of the programming available on BET and streamer BET+, which he helped launch in 2019. Also among BET’s divisions is production company BET Studios, which counts Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas as minority stake holders.
Perry and BET have a long history, as the network helped fund his first feature, 2005’s “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.
In addition to selections from his film library, among Perry’s TV projects currently available on BET and BET+ are “House of Payne,” “Sisters,” “The Oval,” “Ruthless,” “Zatima” and “Assisted Living.”
On Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for Allen is also in the mix. In 2022, Allen acquired the Black News Channel for $11 million, which joins The Weather Channel along with digital outlets such as Local Now, HBCU GO and TheGrio. Allen Media Group has also invested over $1 billion in the last 3 years to acquire 27 ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report Paramount Global is interested in selling off BET in an article published Monday, “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, some of the people said.”