Washington -- BET Holdings Inc. chairman Robert Johnson and
Liberty Media Group are one step closer to taking Black Entertainment Television private
The two companies, working together under the newly formed
BTV Acquisition Corp., have secured about $600 million from Bank of New York, which was
needed to repurchase about 36 percent of outstanding BET stock not owned by Johnson or
BTV last week also announced that it has received the
blessings of the Federal Trade Commission, which granted the company's request to
waive the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act.
The company now awaits approval from its board for
completion of the deal, which will pay shareholders $63 per share.
The move will give total control of the BET franchise to
Johnson and Liberty. Johnson has been very aggressive recently in pushing the BET brand
into other businesses beyond cable, and taking the company private will allow the partners
to continue its new business ventures without having to answer to outside shareholders.
Representatives from BTV could not be reached for comment
by press time.
Johnson and Liberty reached agreement with BET's board
in February to raise their buyout offer to $63 per share from an earlier offer of $48. The
$48 offer was rejected in January as too low by the one-person special committee appointed
to review the bid. The $63 offer was endorsed by that committee (director Delano Lewis)
and by the
committee's advisers from Goldman Sachs & Co.
The purchase price works out to about $518 million,
including payments for stock and options and $46 million for various other related costs,
according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.