Paramount Reportedly in Talks to Sell BET for $1.6 Billion in Buyout Led by CEO Scott Mills

Scott Mills
Courtesy of Paramount Global

Paramount Global’s trio of co-CEOs have publicly said they’ve hired bankers to evaluate the sale of certain assets. Industry speculation has swirled around BET, which has been the target of acquisition offers in the past.

Now Paramount Global is engaged in exclusive discussions to sell BET in a deal valued at $1.6 billion-$1.7 billion to “buyers that include” BET CEO Scott Mills and Chinh Chu, founder of private-equity firm CC Capital, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.

Reps for Paramount Global and CC Capital declined to comment.

The latest reported price range for BET is less than half the $3.5 billion that media mogul Byron Allen extended to Paramount Global in late 2023. That came after Paramount Global earlier in the year had been exploring the sale of a majority stake in BET, with bidders said to include Allen, Tyler Perry and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

In August 2023, Paramount called off the bidding process for BET because “a sale wouldn’t result in any meaningful deleveraging of its balance sheet,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal at the time.

But that, apparently, was then.

The three execs running Paramount Global have outlined a three-pronged strategy of job cuts, asset sales and streaming partnerships to right the ship. The company is going solo, for now, after controlling shareholder Shari Redstone nixed M&A talks with Skydance Media as those came down to the wire. The leadership trio — George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS; Chris McCarthy, president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; and Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon — were installed as co-CEOs after Bob Bakish’s dismissal in late April.

Mills has led BET since January 2018, adding CEO to his title in 2021. He first joined BET in 1997 as senior VP of business development and rose through the ranks over the years to various senior roles. As COO of BET, he led the launch of its Centric channel and as president of digital media launched BET Mobile and BET’s digital video distribution operations. As EVP and COO of BET Interactive, he oversaw the launch of in the early 2000s.

From Variety US