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Updated Apr 10, 2023, 7:00pm EDT
media

Bonin Bough says he ‘hopes’ to acquire a major media organization this year

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Semafor
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The News

The co-founder of an emerging Black media group hinted that his company is likely to acquire one of the major media organizations such as Vice News or the television channel BET.

At the Semafor Media Summit on Monday, Bonin Bough, a marketing veteran who previously oversaw media for Mondelez International, said he “hopes” the fund closes one of the deals that’s been publicly reported.

“I hope it’ll get done this year, that’s our goal,” he said.

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Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bough’s firm Group Black submitted a proposal to buy Vice Media for $400 million amid the millennial-focused media company’s ongoing financial woes. Vice has thus far rebuffed the offer, but hasn’t found a buyer willing to shell out the $1.5 billion that the company is seeking.

In recent months, Group Black has emerged as one of the few potential buyers for companies looking to offload media assets. Founded in 2021 by Bough, tech entrepreneur Travis Montaque, and Essence owner Richelieu Dennis, Group Black is aiming to increase Black ownership in the media industry.

In addition to Vice News, the company has also expressed interest in buying BET. According to the New York Times, Group Black has struck agreements with advertising agencies that have promised to spend over $500 million in advertising on its properties if the company can acquire a “suitable media partner.”

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During Semafor’s Media Summit on Monday, Bough said that he recognized that there was “black-lash” to some of the diversity, equity, and inclusion investment initiatives that were launched in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd.

“When DeSantis steps up, and said ‘We’re gonna remove diversity initiatives,’ he’s not saying we’re gonna remove women,” he said of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rhetoric railing against DEI. “We know exactly what he’s talking about. So sadly, we are in a place where from a societal standpoint, that is where we’re using the hedge as a way to respond to what might be perceived as an overcorrection.”

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