BET'S TOO HOT A PROPERTY

A FOUNDER WANTS TO BUY BACK HIS FIRM; THE SHAREHOLDERS WANT MORE MONEY

Things seemed just perfect for Robert L. Johnson last week. His BET Holdings Inc. (1996 sales: $133 million), the nation's foremost black media conglomerate, posted its 13th consecutive quarterly profit increase. As the cash floods in, Johnson is living a media god's life. He has built a mirrored glass-and-steel headquarters in a poor neighborhood of Washington and acquired a lavish 133-acre horse farm in Virginia hunt country. He has also planned to buy the company and offered shareholders a deal that values BET at $800 million. His concept: transform BET's golden logo into the pre-eminent brand name for African Americans by...

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