Byron Allen has adopted the “may the best man win” outlook as he eyes majority ownership of BET.
The cable channel geared towards an African-American audience is up for sale as parent company Paramount seeks to retain a minority stakeholder position. Funds from the potential sale will reportedly be used to help build out Paramount +.
Since news of BET, which was founded in 1979 by Robert Johnson and his then-wife Sheila Johnson, hitting the chopping block was announced earlier this year, Allen, Tyler Perry, and Sean “Diddy” Combs have expressed interest in acquiring it.
But when it comes to making BET Black-owned again, most people have their focus set on seeing a bidding war between Allen and Perry. Allen, however, said that despite attempts “to put us against each other, if he gets it, it’s great. If I get it, it’s great.”
Related: Tyler Perry Aims to Bring Black Ownership Back to BET In Potential Acquisition as Majority Stakeholder
Allen is the CEO and chairman of The Allen Media Group / Entertainment Studios. The expansive media empire is valued at $4.5 million. Allen also boasts an impressive real estate portfolio. Last year, he made history with the purchase of a $100 million home in Malibu’s Paradise Cove, making it the most expensive real estate transaction of the year.
In March, Allen said he intended to vigorously pursue majority ownership of BET. “It’s a big opportunity,” he told The Grio. Johnson sold the widely distributed channel to Viacom in 2001 for $3 billion. In 2006, he stepped down, promoting Debra Lee to CEO, where she remained until 2018.
The director and playwright has amassed a fortune with his plays, television series, films, and Tyler Perry Studio. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
Perry also bolsters a lucrative partnership with BET+ and is among the list of minority stakeholders. Several of his films and TV productions have also called BET home for nearly two decades.
The “Madea” franchise creator confirmed rumors that he was eyeing a larger position of ownership at BET in April.
“I’ve been there for four years now and had tremendous success,” he told “Entertainment Tonight” of his deal with BET+. He said, “I wasn’t expecting this to happen, so, yes — if that is possible, I’m very, very interested in taking as much of it as I can.”
Like Allen, Perry said he was most thrilled at the possibility of the long-running network being in the hands of Black ownership.
“Part of it is — and I’ve read about Byron Allen and Puffy and everybody wanting to bid and so on and so forth, and I think it’s really great because when, this is what I love about it, when Bob Johnson sold it in 2000, I think it was, there wasn’t one Black person who could buy it,” he explained.
Paramount has not publicly addressed the status of BET’s sale, so it is unclear if the parties involved are nearing the final victory.