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BET ante inadequate, sez investor

NEW YORK — Black Entertainment Television chairman Bob Johnson’s $288 million buyout offer for BET Holdings is “inadequate,” money manager Mario Gabelli said in an Securities & Exchange Commission filing Monday, adding that he planned to take up the issue with company management.

Gabelli, whose funds make him one of the biggest public shareholders in BET, said in the filing he “may make certain suggestions or proposals” about the offer with management and other institutional shareholders, and may host meetings with shareholders to discuss the offer.

Johnson and his backer, Tele-Communications Inc.’s affiliate Liberty Media, offered $48 a share for the publicly held stock last month, but most analysts think it is worth at least $70.

Gabelli, who owns about 12% of BET, appears to be confident that the price will go higher. The stock has been trading above the offer price since the bid was made, and Gabelli has bought about 48,000 shares at prices averaging about $53. BET stock closed up 12¢ Monday to $53.12.

The public, including Gabelli, owns about 40% of BET’s outstanding stock. Neither Gabelli nor BET execs returned calls seeking further comment.

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