Paramount drops plans to sell BET Media stake – WSJ

(Reuters) -Paramount Global dropped its plans to sell a majority stake in BET Media Group, which includes the VH1 and BET cable networks and BET+ streaming service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company notified bidders on Wednesday that it decided to end the sale process as a sale would not result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balance sheet, the WSJ report said, adding that Paramount had received bids for the stake ranging from around $2 billion to $3 billion.

BET Media and Paramount did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Reuters had reported in March that Paramount was mulling possible sale of a majority stake in BET, adding that the company hopes to maintain a minority stake to benefit from any value that might be unlocked by the transaction.

Paramount believed BET, an entertainment brand focused on the Black community and culture, would attract substantial interest from Black investors or institutions, the Reuters report said.

The entertainment conglomerate also formed BET Studios in 2021 through a partnership with “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, actress Rashida Jones and “S.W.A.T” co-creator Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

(Reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh and Evelyn Nikhila S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)