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BET finalizes $3 billion deal with Viacom

New York-based media house Viacom and BET Holdings in Washington, D.C., closed a US$3 billion deal on November 3rd that sees Viacom buying BET for $2.3 billion in stock and assuming $570 million of BET debt. Robert L. Johnson, founder of...
December 1, 2000

New York-based media house Viacom and BET Holdings in Washington, D.C., closed a US$3 billion deal on November 3rd that sees Viacom buying BET for $2.3 billion in stock and assuming $570 million of BET debt. Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and majority shareholder of BET Holdings, will remain as chairman and CEO. Debra Lee, president and COO of the African American cable channel, has agreed to stay on in that role.

Viacom’s purchase includes the BET cable network, which will remain headquartered in Washington, D.C., as well as: BET on Jazz, a jazz music cable channel; BET International, a hybrid of BET and BET on Jazz; BET Books, publisher of African American-themed romance novels; and BET’s interest in BET.com, an African American web portal. Viacom, which also owns MTV, CBS, Nickelodeon and VH1, has promised to throw its weight behind BET, but not to interfere with its programming. The transaction is expected to be completed early next year.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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