Byron Allen Buys Black News Channel for $11M

Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group is buying the Black News Channel, with plans to revive the bankrupt cable news outlet and significantly grow its distribution footprint.

Allen’s company is acquiring “substantially all” of BNC’s assets for $11 million, with a bankruptcy court in Tallahassee, Florida, formally signing off on the sale.

BNC is available in about 45 million homes through companies like Comcast, Charter and DirecTV, and Allen says his company can grow that distribution to about 80 million homes in the next six months. It’s not immediately clear, however, what Allen has in store for BNC’s lineup or programming. BNC had just rebooted its primetime lineup last year with hopes of turning things around.

BNC’s previous owner, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, had invested over $100 million in BNC since its 2020 launch, before shutting it down in March.

Allen says that his company “will deliver a best-in-class network to serve the underserved African American community and the advertisers who want to reach this extremely valuable audience.

“Also, we appreciate the opportunity to provide cable operators, satellite companies, telcos and digital platforms diversity of ownership, voices and viewpoints on their programming lineups by having a 100 percent African-American-owned network,” he added.

Allen, a comedian turned media mogul, has become one of Hollywood’s most aggressive players, opportunistically acquiring digital media brands, cable networks and local TV stations to grow his company. AMG owns The Weather Channel, 27 local TV stations in 21 markets, and digital brands like The Grio and Comedy.TV.

And Allen has long expressed interest in the TV news space.

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Before WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery, when CNN was seen as a potential sale or spinoff target, Allen told THR that his company “will make a bid if CNN becomes available.”

His acquisition of BNC out of bankruptcy suggests that Allen has no intention of slowing down now.