This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," December 20, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
DAVID ASMAN, GUEST HOST: Wealth management: Up until now, African-Americans have had a limited role there, but that is about to change.
My next guest is creating a half-billion — with a B — dollar buyout fund that is going to be managed by African-Americans. He is Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and the nation's first African-American billionaire, if I have got that right.
He joins from West Palm Beach.
Is that true?
ROBERT JOHNSON, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN, BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION: David, thank you very much. Right.
ASMAN: You were the first African-American billionaire in the United States?
JOHNSON: Fortunately, I was able to sell BET to Viacom (John Malone, and we made a lot of money.
ASMAN: John Malone.
Now, I'm going to talk about your project, because it's exciting. But I just — I have always wondered this about a billionaire. After you make the first $100 million, what do you do with the rest?
JOHNSON: Well, you don't worry about the money after that. You sort of worry about things that you like to do and do them well, and, hopefully, impact other people's lives.
ASMAN: And one of those things is RLJ Companies. Now, this is your pet project. You're doing it with the Carlyle Group. Explain how it all works.
JOHNSON: Well, it works like this.
We think that there's a lot of wealth on the sidelines that could be managed by African-Americans in a private equity format, where we would go out and search for companies that need investment, for buyouts or for growing their business or looking to go public.
And we will invest that money and give the shareholders — the investors — a maximum return. It's a simple way of, basically, buying low and selling high.
ASMAN: Now, of course, when you started BET television, you essentially did it in your basement. I mean, there was no fund like this. So, it is possible for African-Americans to start from nothing and build up a good business?
JOHNSON: I think it's very possible.
This is the American dream, finding an opportunity, creating a talented group of people to pursue that opportunity, bringing in strategic partners, as in this case with the Carlyle Group, headed by David Rubenstein. This is the kind of thing I did with John Malone in cable. And I think we could do it in the private equity market as well.
ASMAN: But why just African-Americans? Why not a mix of African-Americans, whites, Latinos, whatever?
JOHNSON: No, I'm not saying that this is going to be limited to just African-American talent.
It will be African-American owned, as I will be the principal sponsor and investor in this. But Carlyle will be an investor in this as well.
What we want to do is prove that minority Americans can contribute to the wealth of this nation from the standpoint of managing other people's money, as they did do as workers in contributing to the wealth of this country.
ASMAN: And, for those folks, those entrepreneurs, or budding entrepreneurs, looking at this show and wondering, geez, I wonder if I have got the right project, what are you looking for?
JOHNSON: Well, what I always look for, and I think what any business person looks for, is talent and ideas. There's a lot of ideas out there. There's plenty of money.
But managerial talent is the key to making a business a success. So, that's what I tend to look for, who has got an idea? Who has got the drive, the determination to pursue a dream? Who can make it happen? And that's the kind of talent that I think will create the next generation of wealth movers and shakers in this country.
ASMAN: And who knows. They may be watching right now. And, if they are, I bet they're going to be calling you pretty soon.
Robert Johnson, well, you're still chairman of BET television, right, until the end of this month?
JOHNSON: Until January 23, when my good friend Debra Lee takes over.
ASMAN: And then you have got your hands full doing this other business.
Thanks very much for coming in, sir.
ASMAN: Appreciate you being here.
JOHNSON: My second act, David.
ASMAN: OK. Best of luck to you.
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