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Paramount in talks to sell stake in BET Group

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

Paramount Global is considering selling a majority stake in BET Group, which encompasses BET, BET+, BET Studios and VH1, a person familiar with the talks confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Paramount is looking to raise additional capital to spend on programming for its streaming services like Paramount+ and PlutoTV.

  • Paramount reported a $575 million loss for its streaming business during its most recent quarter.

Details: The talks are in very early stages, the source added, and no deal is certain to be reached. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier Monday.

  • A spokesperson for Byron Allen, the media mogul who owns The Weather Channel and other networks said Allen "is interested in buying BET, and he will be pursuing the acquisition of the network." Allen bought Black News Channel for $11 million last year, reviving it from bankruptcy.
  • Paramount, which declined to comment on the talks, expects to retain a minority stake if a deal is reached.
  • The company expects BET to garner significant interest, particularly since BET Group is largely siloed away from the rest of Paramount.
  • Tyler Perry, who holds an equity stake in the BET+ streaming service, is one of the suitors talking with Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

The big picture: Paramount has long been seen as a top M&A target ever since Shari Redstone brought Viacom and CBS back together in 2019.

  • The news comes a week after Paramount reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer for cable network Showtime. Paramount announced in January that it would combine its Showtime operations within Paramount+.

This story has been updated to add the comment from Byron Allen's spokesperson.

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