The battle for BET continues as three new contenders are reportedly interested in purchasing the company.
According to numerous reports, Kenya Barris, 50 Cent, and Shaquille O’Neal were recently spotted at Paramount studios. Although nothing has yet been confirmed, it’s not hard to surmise that the sports and entertainment titans may be interested in taking over ownership of the network.
They’re the latest in a growing line of suitors, which include Richelieu Dennis, Diddy, Tyler Perry, and Byron Allen.
As previously reported by ESSENCE, Group Black, led by Travis Montaque and co-founded by Dennis is working with CVC Capital Partners, a private-equity firm based in Luxembourg with more than $100 billion under management to make a bid.
The New York Times also highlighted that although several people close to the situation have said the businesspeople are deeply interested, talks are still early and the current owner, Paramount, may ultimately decide not to sell ownership of BET or VH1. They haven’t offered a comment about any of these reports to date.
This push is coming after widespread talks have taken place over the years about the lack of Black ownership in media. According to a 2020 report by The Leadership Conference On Civic & Human Rights, African Americans control 0.9 percent of television stations but represent 13.9 percent of the population.
“There’s real interest in having the independence to do the things that you want to do for your community and not having to answer to white people to do that,” said Lauren Williams, who started Capital B, a news nonprofit controlled by Black journalists, in January 2022 in an interview with NY Times.