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Tyler Perry Says Bidding Process for Paramount’s BET Business Was “Disrespectful”

Tyler Perry said he was “disappointed” in the way that Paramount Global handled the bidding process for the potential majority stake sale of its BET business.

In August, the Bob Bakish-led studio conglomerate took down its “for sale” sign on the unit — which includes the BET channel, streamer BET+ as well as VH1 and BET Studios — after gauging interest from several suitors. A few moguls including Perry, Sean “Diddy Combs” and Byron Allen, who owns a number of local TV stations as well as The Weather Channel and other assets via his Entertainment Studios firm, had expressed interest in acquiring the stake.

On Wednesday, during a Bloomberg Equality Summit in Atlanta, Perry gave a glimpse at how that process went for those aiming to acquire the stake. “I was disappointed about it for a number of reasons,” he said as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The way it happened was disrespectful in a lot of ways.”

Though Perry didn’t share many details on what all happened, he added, “Don’t try to get me to pay for something that’s not worth anywhere near the value” Paramount claimed it was.

When asked if he would reconsider if Paramount placed BET up for sale again, he said, “No.”

At this time, Perry still has a minority stake in the BET+ streaming service and provides content to Paramount programs, including BET and Nickelodeon through a multiyear content partnership inked in 2019. The mogul is also a major player in the production space via his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

“God bless them,” he added of Paramount. “I’m still working with them. I wish them the best.”

If a deal was closed, Paramount would have expected to maintain a minority stake in the business. The sale would have also given the company more cash to focus on its main streaming service, Paramount+, which currently has 61 million global subscribers. The company has looked to shed assets — including book publisher Simon & Schuster — to focus on its core entertainment portfolio.

A representative for Paramount declined to comment.


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