By Chris Katje
Reports have surfaced that world-renowned producer, director, actor, screenwriter and entrepreneur Tyler Perry has finalized a deal to purchase BET and VH1 from Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA) (NASDAQ: PARAA). Amid unconfirmed reports, let’s delve into the most recent news and speculation.
Media giant Paramount has been exploring the sale of BET Media Group, which includes the cable networks BET and VH1, as reported in March 2023. Among the interested parties in BET Media Group have been Tyler Perry and Byron Allen.
BET was founded in 1980 by Bob Johnson and has served as a leading media outlet for the Black community, often a place to showcase the talents of underrepresented performers in movies, television and music. Johnson sold BET to Viacom in 2000 for $2.3 billion.
Perry’s name has generated the most buzz with his success in launching several media brands and being a leading content creator of movies and television shows. In 2019, Perry also contributed to the launch of the BET+ streaming subscription service under Paramount, in which he owns a minority share.
Several media outlets have indicated that a deal between Perry and Paramount has been reached. Hip Hop Vibe reported Perry bought BET Media Group for $400 million. News One suggests the reports on Perry landing BET Media Group might be premature, even though they’re being widely circulated on social media. The report links TheStreamr as the source for many of the social media posts. TheStreamr later took down its report on Perry’s purchase.
A tweet from CultureCentral was widely circulated on Twitter. The tweet has been seen over 1.5 million times and is from an account with under 3,500 followers.
“For the first time in 21 years, BET is black owned again, and for the first time ever VH1 is now black owned! Tyler Perry just made history as the first African American to buy two major television networks,” @CulturCentral1 said.
Unconfirmed rumors of Perry acquiring BET Media Group have arisen amid claims that other potential suitors have included Allen, 50 Cent, Diddy and Shaquille O’Neal. Zenger News reached out to Paramount for comment. A message left with Tyler Perry Studios went unreturned.
Paramount has been looking to a potential sale of BET Media Group to improve its financials as it focuses on growing its Paramount+ streaming platform. Best known as the creator of the Madea franchise, Perry had a previous deal with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) that saw the successful release of several million-dollar grossing movies at the box office.
Viacom, a unit of Paramount Global, signed a deal in 2017 with Perry to create new exclusive content. Lately, Perry has branched out to work with some of the top streaming companies. In 2022, Perry announced a four-picture deal with Amazon Studios, a unit of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN). The deal includes Perry writing, directing and producing four original films that will be exclusive to Prime Video.
“I’m excited and grateful to start working with Amazon Studios to bring movies to Prime Video,” Perry said at the time, as reported by BET. Perry has also worked with streaming leader Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) on several movies, including the 2022 release “A Jazzman’s Blues.”
Netflix will also be the home of a World War II drama from Perry called “Six Triple Eight.” The movie, which stars Kerry Washington, is about the first black female battalion to serve overseas during World War II, as reported by Variety.
Oprah Winfrey, Sam Waterston and Susan Sarandon will also appear in the movie.
“To honor the long ignored worth of the 6888 has been the greatest privilege of my career thus far,” Perry captioned a photo of the movie’s ensemble. The movie will be the fourth Perry title released on Netflix.
Paramount shares were trading at $16.42 Thursday compared to a 52-week trading range of $13.80 to $27.49. Shares are down 3.8% year-to-date in 2023.
Zenger News does not provide investment advice.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Rachmad Imam Tarecha and Saman Rizwan
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