Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group (AMG) is proud to announce that the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division of the United States Bankruptcy Court, (Case No. 4:22-bk-40087-KKS) issued an order approving the sale of “substantially all of” Black News Channel (BNC) “assets free and clear of all liens, claims, encumbrances and interests” to AMG’s networks division.
AMG is acquiring BNC out of bankruptcy for $11 million from billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars franchise. Khan invested over $100 million into BNC.
AMG’s acquisition of BNC will add 300 million linear and digital subscribers to the AMG portfolio of assets — which includes 12 television networks such as The Weather Channel, digital platforms Local Now, HBCU GO, Sports.TV, theGrio Streaming App and The Weather Channel Streaming App. AMG has also invested over $1 billion in the last 3 years to acquire 27 ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX network affiliate broadcast television stations nationwide.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Allen was the only bidder for the assets set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida. BNC filed for bankruptcy protection in March and laid off most of its employees.
Majority stakeholder and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan initially invested $50 million in BNC, but the audience and revenues failed to meet projections, and the heavy cost structure was unsustainable.
A spokesperson for Allen’s company declined to say if the channel’s operation would be moved from Florida to Atlanta now that the sale is official.
Allen told CableFax that the network failed in part because cable carriers including Comcast, Charter Communications and Verizon refused to give BNC subscription fees, which are given to popular channels such as TBS and ESPN.
New cable networks usually don’t receive these fees until they develop an audience, something the BNC struggled to do. Allen has sued both Charter and Comcast for racial discrimination, alleging the companies weren’t carrying his TV channels due to racism.
The suit made it to the Supreme Court, but the high court struck down Allen’s arguments in a 9-0 decision, saying it was not enough to assert that race was one of several factors in not picking up his channels, he had to show race was a critical factor.
“If you really want something to succeed and you don’t want to find it in bankruptcy, and they’re pink slipping 300 Black journalists, yeah, there should have been some sub fees,” Allen told CableFax. “This is the reason I sued the cable industry before for $40 billion. Are you serious? You’re going to pay anywhere from $1-$2 [per subscriber] for other cable networks, but zero for the Black News Channel?”
Additionally, Allen expressed his disappointment that the ad community failed to support the network, adding the BNC’s non-direct response ad dollars equaled less than $2 million in the last year of BNC’s operation.