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BET bites

Thu, 11/02/2000 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

It was an offer they couldn't refuse. Viacom brought $2.5 billion in stock to the table and snared privately held BET Holdings, the largest media and entertainment company geared toward an African-American audience.

BET reaches more than 62 million households and gives Viacom entry into one of the fastest growing media markets. The deal includes Black Entertainment Television, The Cable Jazz Channel, BET International, BET Books and BET Holdings' interest in BET.com.

In a reversal from the norm, BET went private in 1991 in a buy-out led by BET chairman and co-founder Robert Johnson and Liberty Media chair John Malone. Johnson will remain chair and CEO after the Viacom deal closes. The man has made a killing on this deal - doesn't he want to take it easy for a while?

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