A month after Diddy confirmed his interest in buying BET, TMZ reports that 50 Cent, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenya Barris have expressed interest, too.
According to TMZ, the Queens rapper and the Blackish creator were seen outside of Paramount’s New York City offices discussing the possibility of buying the network. The men allegedly partnered with Shaq and investment company, CVC, to make an offer. Barris is also one of BET’s minority stake holders.
“It’s not a done deal, but they’re deep in it,” one rumored source with “direct knowledge” told the outlet. The news comes weeks after Diddy, Tyler Perry, and Byron Allen all tossed their hats in the ring amid the potential sale.
Variety reported that the Bad Boy mogul is “exploring the opportunity to purchase BET as a part of his strategy to build a Black-owned global media powerhouse.” Under his parent company, Combs Global, Diddy already owns REVOLT, which produces linear and digital long-form and multi-platform short-form programming including Drink Champs and Caresha Please.
Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Paramount Global potentially selling BET and explained, “The discussions between Mr. Perry and Paramount come as the company is considering selling the majority stake in BET Media Group, which includes the cable channels BET and VH1, people familiar with the matter said. A potential sale of part of the unit, which caters 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.”
Paramount Global, formerly Viacom and ViacomCBS, bought BET in October 2000 for $2.34 billion, from its founder Robert L. Johnson. The sale made him the first Black billionaire in the United States.