Paramount Reportedly in Talks to Sell BET for $1.6 Billion in Buyout Led by CEO Scott Mills |

Paramount Reportedly in Talks to Sell BET for $1.6 Billion in Buyout Led by CEO Scott Mills

BET is back up for sale.

According to a new report, Paramount Global is engaged in exclusive discussions to sell BET in a deal valued at $1.6 billion-$1.7 billion to “buyers that include” BET CEO Scott Mills and Chinh Chu, founder of private-equity firm CC Capital.

via Variety:

The BET Media Group comprises the BET cable channel, VH1 and other networks; the BET+ streaming service; and BET Studios.

Reps for Paramount Global and CC Capital declined to comment. Shares of Paramount Global rose on the report of the renewed BET sale talks, closing up 5.7% for the day to $10.72/share.

The latest reported price range for BET is less than half the $3.5 billion that media mogul Byron Allen extended to Paramount Global in late 2023. That came after Paramount Global earlier in the year had been exploring the sale of a majority stake in BET, with bidders said to include Allen, Tyler Perry and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

In August 2023, Paramount called off the bidding process for BET because “a sale wouldn’t result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balance sheet,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal at the time.

But that, apparently, was then.

The three execs running Paramount Global have outlined a three-pronged strategy of job cuts, asset sales and streaming partnerships to right the ship. The company is going solo, for now, after controlling shareholder Shari Redstone nixed M&A talks with Skydance Media as those came down to the wire. The leadership trio — George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS; Chris McCarthy, president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; and Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon — were installed as co-CEOs after Bob Bakish’s dismissal in late April.

Another prime asset Paramount Global is expected to shop around: The Paramount Pictures Studio lot at 5555 Melrose Ave. in L.A., which spans roughly 62 acres of land.

Speaking at the June 25 employee town hall, CBS’s Cheeks said the Paramount co-CEOs are “looking at selling certain Paramount-owned assets” and said, “in fact, we’ve already hired bankers to assist us in this process — and we’ll use the proceeds to help pay down debt and strengthen our balance sheet.” He didn’t discuss specific assets that are in play.

Mills has led BET since January 2018, adding CEO to his title in 2021. He first joined BET in 1997 as senior VP of business development and rose through the ranks over the years to various senior roles. As COO of BET, he led the launch of its Centric channel and as president of digital media launched BET Mobile and BET’s digital video distribution operations. As EVP and COO of BET Interactive, he oversaw the launch of in the early 2000s.

Under Bakish, the company did shed some assets to shore up the balance sheet — however, Paramount also passed up the chance to sell Showtime for as much as $6 billion. In 2021, the company sold the skyscraper known as BlackRock, CBS’ New York headquarters, for $760 million, as well as the CBS Studio Center lot (aka CBS Radford) for $1.85 billion. Last October, Paramount Global closed the $1.62 billion sale of Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKR.

We’ll see if this sale actually goes through.

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