The Mercury News
Tyler Perry, Byron Allen eye BET bids
Producer and star Tyler Perry has expressed interest in buying a majority stake in BET as the television network's owner, Paramount Global, looks to bring on a substantial partner, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
Hours after Perry's interest in BET was revealed, L.A.-based media mogul Byron Allen indicated that he too was jumping into the fray.
“Byron Allen is interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network,” Allen's spokesperson said late Monday.
The dueling interest could benefit Paramount, which has been trying to raise money by shedding assets to pay down debt and to invest in its twoyear-old streaming service, Paramount+. Paramount wants to retain a portion of the BET Media Group, which includes the VH1 television channel and the BET+ streaming service, according to one of the knowledgeable people.
A marriage between Paramount and either of the suitors would unite power players in African American culture and media.
BET established itself as the go-to cable destination for Black-themed shows more than 40 years ago. In recent years, Perry's programs, including “Tyler Perry's House of Payne,” have performed well on BET.
Perry, who also is a respected actor, has shown an appetite to expand his empire, which includes his popular “Madea” movie franchise, live plays and a sprawling 300-acre studio complex near Atlanta.
Allen, a stand-up comedian who founded the prolific Entertainment Studios, has been on a buying kick during the last decade.
In 2018, Allen purchased the Weather Channel. He also has added about two dozen broadcast television stations that air broadcast network programming to his portfolio. His Allen Media Group, which he founded 30 years ago, also owns a free streaming app called Local Now, which airs local news, weather, sports, traffic, movies and TV shows.