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Tyler Perry’s Bid for BET Denied



Tyler Perry BET Bid Denied
Tyler Perry. Image source: Richard Shotwell, Associated Press.

The news of the denial of Tyler Perry’s bid to purchase BET has left more than a few members of the community disillusioned and shocked. While this has left many mired in confusion, the details are clear.

Tyler Perry’s Bid Makes Headlines

One of the biggest news stories of 2023 was when news broke of Tyler Perry’s impending ownership of BET. The prospect of this ownership transition had captured the attention and anticipation of many, as they speculated about its potential impact on both BET and the cultural landscape.

And the news was only amplified when the news broke of another candidate entering the bidding game. In a March article in Variety, it was announced both Tyler Perry and Byron Allen were actively competing to secure a majority stake in the network. And assurances were high.

Amidst the rising excitement, the spreading news of Tyler Perry’s eventual selection as the future owner was widely celebrated. However, as the saying goes, “All’s well, that ends well.” Recent headlines show that this narrative took an unexpected turn, revealing the story was far from over.

Perry’s Bid Rejected

At present, Tyler Perry’s aspiration for a majority stake in BET has not materialized. According to the New York Post, Perry’s bid fell short of the initial asking price, which was reportedly set at $3 billion. Perry’s bid was 1 billion under the asking price.

What about the initial announcements of transference of ownership? Paramount, at some point, was considering Perry’s offer. But things changed. As HipHopDx reports, “Despite promising to go forward with the sale, Paramount officially announced its cancellation on Wednesday (August 16),” a turn of events marking a significant departure from the earlier indications of progression in the ownership transition.

Confusion Abounds

Given the rejection, one can’t help but wonder what could have turned the tide. Prior to Tyler Perry’s bid, Paramount had expressed a desire to facilitate a return of the network to minority ownership. Byron Allen, another contender who had shown keen interest in acquiring the network, submitted a bid that aligned with the corporation’s stipulated asking price. According to the New York Post, Allen did indeed bid 3 million to purchase a majority stake. But Paramount did not enter talks with Allen.

But why not if the reason for Perry’s denial is the asking price? The Washington Post explains that this decision was attributed to Allen’s perceived lack of firmly established financing. Thus. Perry became the logical choice. But, the New York Post notes, “Sources said Allen received letters from banks saying that they are confident they would finance the offer, which is at well more than a 12 times Ebitda [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] multiple after they conducted more due diligence.” Things that make one go, um!

However, Wednesday’s announcement has cast doubts on the assumption that Perry was the natural fit based solely on Paramount’s decision regarding Allen. The situation has proven to be more complex than anticipated, leaving room for further inquiry into the underlying reasons for the turn of events.

Why Choose Perry Initially

Paramount held a positive view of Tyler Perry, recognizing him as a potential “good steward” for the operation, further enhanced by his existing stake in the corporation and established relationship. Variety notes, “Perry and BET’s relationship dates to the 2005 release of “Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which they helped fund.” Given these connections, Perry’s candidacy for ownership was logically more appealing.

A Tangled Web

Paramount purports its withdrawal is based purely on the bottom line. Fiscally going with Perry did not make sense. A statement from the company read,

“We made this decision because the benefits of maintaining a majority stake in BET Media Group creates more value for Paramount than any of the proposals we received.”

This explanation, while rational, leaves room for further examination, especially in light of their initial inclinations. Such again swivels the spotlight back: why was Byron Allen’s bid not embraced?

Making Sense of It All

There are several conclusions one could contrive to explain the backpedaling. But those would be speculation. All that exists are the facts. Paramount’s decision to reject the bid stands on the grounds of financial justifications. Unfortunately, the public may never know if this is the only rationale for pulling the offer.

But what does that mean for programming? The implications of this decision on future programming remain uncertain, as no official statement has been released detailing its potential impact. But for fans of Mary J. Blige, the sun will come out, as they can look forward to more of her talk show “The Wine Down.”

Hard Knock Life

There is always a lesson. And the lesson here is to only buy into the hype once the papers are signed and ownership formally transferred. Until then, everything else is an illusion. Stay vigilant.

Written by Renae Richardson 

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