Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group has emerged as the leading candidate to purchase Black News Channel for $11 million.
According to a recent filing submitted to the Northern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court, Allen Media Group and Ebony Studios were actively pursuing a purchase of BNC assets since the early stages of the sale process. BNC first sought a deal with Ebony Studios, an inclusive production platform launched in April aiming to develop content across film, television, audio and digital properties. The pair negotiated in good faith regarding its potential designation as a Stalking Horse Bidder, but weren’t able to finalize an agreement and their limited exclusivity period was allowed to expire on June 3.
BNC has since asked the court to enter an order authorizing and approving the designation of Allen Media Group as the stalking horse bidder and its bid for substantially all of BNC’s assets used or related to the conduct of its business.
“The Debtor and its advisors have spent the last several weeks engaging in robust discussions and negotiations with Ebony Studios, ESN, and other potentially interested parties, regarding their submission of bids for the Debtor’s business and assets generally, and the Debtor’s potential designation of a Stalking Horse Bidder,” the filing said. “Those hard-fought negotiations have led the Debtor to a positive point in this Chapter 11 Case: the Debtor now has a Stalking Horse APA in hand that represents a great outcome for the Debtor, its estate, and all of its stakeholders, and is optimistic that additional Qualified Bids will be forthcoming that may improve upon the terms of the Stalking Horse APA.”
An acquisition by AMG would breathe new life into a network on its way to becoming defunct. Black News Channel announced it would be ceasing operations on March 25, shortly after celebrating its two-year anniversary in February. The channel is still up and running with up-to-date newscasts and a rainbow logo that seems to honor Pride Month. The network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of March following financial woes and delays in the March 25 payroll. Employees took to Twitter in the aftermath of the closure announcement to tell their stories of unpaid wages and no severance. We’ll know officially if BNC has found new ownership by the end of next month. A revised sale schedule sets the bid deadline for July 8 at 5pm ET, the auction (if necessary) for July 12 at 10am ET, a sale hearing for July 19 at 10am ET and the sale’s closing for July 29.
Allen Media Group has had a busy 12 months when it comes to content, launching Weather Channel en Español, Sports.TV and acquiring HBCUGo.TV. Since the start of the year, it’s also struck a partnership with Google that included expanded carriage on YouTube TV and a carriage deal with Cox Communications that brought JusticeCentral.TV, Recipe.TV and Comedy.TV to Contour customers nationwide. It’s even recently been on a bit of a hiring spree, Tuesday adding Mike Nemetz as Director, Content Distribution and Partnerships. Other people moves in the past month include the hiring of Chris Malone as EVP/Head, Corporate Development, the promotion of Michael Senzon to President, Digital, and the addition of Matthew Lipson to EVP, Marketing for Digital Platforms and Content.