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45 GREAT MOMENTS IN BLACK BUSINESS – NO. 5: BET SELLS FOR $3 BILLION CREATING AMERICA’S FIRST BLACK BILLIONAIRE

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BLACK ENTERPRISE celebrates the 45th anniversary of its roster of the nation’s most successful black businesses—The BE 100s. To commemorate the significance of this collective’s widespread impact on black business and economic development as well as American industry over four decades, we have presented 45 milestone moments. As part of this tribute, we continue our yearlong countdown.  

2000: Robert Johnson, sells BET for $3 billion to media giant Viacom, making him the nation’s first black billionaire.

In clinching a deal that made him America’s first black billionaire, entrepreneur Robert Johnson led the sale of the nation’s largest black-owned cable channel to media conglomerate Viacom Inc. The transaction came with Viacom’s purchase of BET Holdings II Inc., the owner of Black Entertainment Television. The deal was announced in 2000 and closed a year later, valued at around $3 billion.

The pact made BET Founder Robert Johnson the nation’s richest black man and a household name. An astute executive, entrepreneur, and wealth builder, Bob Johnson made business history in 1991 by taking BET public. It became the first company ever traded on the New York Stock Exchange with majority ownership controlled by African Americans.

Not pleased with BET’s stock market performance, Johnson teamed with Liberty Media Group in 1998 to buy private ownership of the company and reorganized it as BET Holdings II Inc. When Viacom acquired BET Holdings II, it resulted into $2.4 billion in Viacom stock options for Johnson, who accepted a five-year contract with Viacom to continue leading BET. A former cable-industry lobbyist, Johnson and his wife at the time, Sheila, founded BET in 1980, with $500,000 in funding and a $15,000 bank loan.

Read more @ Black Enterprise

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Johnson Publishing, once chronicled black life in Ebony and Jet, going out of business.

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Johnson Publishing, whose iconic Ebony and Jet magazines chronicled black life in America for decades, has filed for bankruptcy and plans a court-supervised sale of its assets.

The 77-year-old company, which sold Ebony and Jet almost three years ago, on Tuesday filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation after it was unable to restructure its operations or arrange financing or a sale.

Read full story @ The Chicago Tribune

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The Women of Power Summit

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Terrell Owens, Ricky Williams Among Founding Owners of Freedom Football League

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Football fans craving pigskin in the spring will have their answer thanks to a number of former NFL players.

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams announced Thursday on ESPN’s Outside the Lines that he is one of the founders of the Freedom Football League, per Field Yates of ESPN. Williams is joined by fellow founders Terrell Owens, Simeon Rice and Mike Alstott, among others.

The league will play during the spring as to avoid competing against the NFL and collegiate football in the fall.

According to ESPN.com, there will be 10 teams when the league starts—the San Diego Warriors, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, Texas Revolution, Ohio Players, Florida Strong, Birmingham Kings, St. Louis Independence, Connecticut Underground and Oakland Panthers—with the chance for eventual expansion if it succeeds.

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