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BET founder and former top man Robert L. Johnson hasn’t been entirely idle since selling the cable station to Viacom in 2003 for $3 billion dollars. The business magnate has made a bold new move back into the world of media after agreeing to purchase the properties of Image Entertainment and Acorn Media Group, seeking to combine the two into a newly minted company titled RLJ Entertainment, Inc, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Currently under the review of the companies’ stockholders, Johnson’s proposed purchase involves a series of stock options and promised payouts of current Image Entertainment and Acorn Media holdings. If everything goes according to plan, Image and Acorn stockholders will own 11% and 5% of RLJ Entertainment respectively. The deal’s completion is expected by the second quarter of 2012.

In a statement, Johnson announced the impending deal and promised rapid expansion. “As Executive Chairman of RLJ Entertainment, I am looking forward to this unique business combination of Image Entertainment and Acorn Media Group,” said Johnson. “RLJ Entertainment will have a broad strategy for financial growth by providing content to all media platforms including broadcast and cable, DVD and Blu-Ray, digital downloads, and digital streaming.”

Image Entertainment is a home entertainment company that has produced and acquired urban, independent, comedy and horror films for global distribution. Acorn Media Group is a leading media distributor of British television programming with an aim towards American and Australian audiences.


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Photo: BET