After much debate and speculation, Paramount Global has dropped its plan to sell its majority stake in BET Media Group, which includes BET, VH1, BET+ and BET Studios. The Wall Street Journal, reported according to sources, Paramount Global announced its decision to renege on selling BET Media Group because “a sale wouldn’t result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balancing sheet.”
Perhaps the decision to not sell comes because Paramount felt they would not make a significant profit back; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Viacom bought BET in 2000 for $2.3 billion in stock and $570 million in debt. With bids only coming in at $2 billion to $3 billion, perhaps it was felt that the sale wouldn’t garner much of a return for the company. Bidders included bidders such as Tyler Perry, Byron Allen and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
The move ends the plans for each of the prospective buyers to reclaim BET as Black-owned media, so for many, Paramount’s decision will be upsetting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount is still in the red with $424 million in losses during its second quarter. The company has also already sold off other properties between 2020 and 2023, such as book publishing house Simon & Schuster being sold for $1.62 billion to private equity company KKR, CNET for $500 million and CBS’s New York BlackRock headquarters and Studio City lot for $760 million and $1.85 billion, respectively.