In honor of Black History Month, Mergers & Acquisitions returns to our Q&A with Robert L. Johnson, one of the most successful African Americans in business, about his efforts to increase opportunities for minorities in corporate America.
Johnson is best known as the founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television, or BET, the nation’s first TV network to provide quality entertainment, music, news, sports and public-affairs programming for the African American audience. Under his leadership, in 1991, BET became the first African American-owned company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2001, Mr. Johnson sold BET to Viacom for approximately $3 billion. Today, he is the founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, which boasts a diverse portfolio of companies, including RLJ Equity Partners, a middle-market private equity firm he founded in 2006 through a strategic alliance with The Carlyle Group.