Going public allowed Johnson to sells pieces of the company to other African-Americans, although he kept control of the board, and instantly made him a millionaire. But Johnson had plenty more firsts he wanted to make happen.
BET was just a cornerstone of a larger, diversified media empire he planned to build. But as he stretched out in many directions, investors balked. The stock price didn’t track with many of its cable peers. Some advertisers thought they already reached black consumers through regular TV.
But Johnson was still a believer, and he decided to take matters back into his own hands. In July 1998, when many tech boom companies were salivating at the idea of going public, Johnson and Liberty Media Corp., controlled by TCI, bought BET for $380 million. That gave Johnson a 42 percent stake in the company and Liberty 22 percent.
Just three years later, Johnson sold BET to Viacom Inc. in 2001 for nearly $3 billion, netting him a healthy $1.5 billion. He stepped down as CEO in 2005 and remained as chairman until retiring from BET in 2006. Since “retiring,” he’s put his energy into a host of other ventures, including RLJ Cos., the asset management company he founded in 2000. He was also the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, a stake he sold
Hey Bob, the CNBC crew forgot to ask you: how is your company RLJE doing? and if they did we would have seen a graphic showing the stock price down 90% in two years...market cap of 14M and then Joe would have said good job Bob, you got a $70M credit facility six months ago from McLarty/ Clinton ..that should have made you Executive of the year...now you fail to file yearly/quarterly results on time for the second time in two years..and lend the company money Apr15 the last day to file (good terms for you bad for us bagholders) what happened to your $2M buyback? any CEO that is on National TV and does not mention his company by name has something to hide...I know Agatha is no longer with us, so Let's call Foyle