CBS Corp. just announced that it is acquiring 50% of of TV Guide, the company that encompasses TVGN (formerly TV Guide Network) and TVGuide.com. The deal adds a basic cable network to its TV portfolio, which includes broadcast networks (CBS and the CW), a pay cable network (Showtime), international TV channels, a TV studio and syndication unit. As we first reported on Friday, CBS is taking over the TV Guide stake held by One Equity Partners, the private-equity arm of J.P. Morgan Chase, which owned 49% of the company, with an option to buy another 1%. CBS is said to be paying about $100 million, less than the $122 million OEP spent in June 2009. CBS joins TVGN co-owner Lionsgate Entertainment. Here is the release:
BS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) announced today that the companies have entered into a 50/50 partnership for the highly distributed entertainment cable network TVGN and the website TVGuide.com. The basic cable network, available in more than 80 million homes, will continue to be entertainment-focused, with a specific rebranding and programming strategy to be announced at a later date.
The venture will combine CBS’s programming, production and marketing assets with Lionsgate’s resources in motion pictures, television and digitally delivered content. The new ownership structure will be comprised of the company with the #1 broadcast network and many of the top first-run syndication series (“Entertainment Tonight,” “OMG! Insider”) and the studio that distributes the blockbuster “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises and produces such award-winning dramas as “Mad Men.”
Under the terms of the deal, CBS will acquire a 50% stake in TVGN and TVGuide.com. CBS plans to purchase the ownership interest currently held by One Equity Partners (OEP), the global private equity investment arm of JPMorgan Chase. The deal closed on signing today.
“This is a strategic way for CBS to use its content brands and gain access to a highly distributed basic cable network that has a lot of upside,” said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “Lionsgate, led by my friend Jon Feltheimer, is a forward-thinking content company and a great partner for us here. We’re excited to bring CBS’s programming and production assets to the venture, and work with Lionsgate to rebrand and grow a channel that will be increasingly valuable to our carriage partners.”
“We couldn’t be in business with a better blue-chip strategic partner than CBS or a more visionary CEO than our friend Les Moonves,” said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. “Their track record speaks for itself, and we believe that the combination of our two brands and our complementary assets will elevate TVGN to the next level of performance and enable it to fulfill its promise as a significant branded entertainment channel.”
Moelis & Company and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz advised TVGN on the transaction.