AMC Networks significantly expands its footprint with the acquisition of Chellomedia, the international content division of John Malone’s Liberty Global. In May, Liberty put the business up for sale, expecting a deal valued at between $800M and $1B, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. AMC, which has actively been increasing its global presence via international programming business, AMC/Sundance Channel Global, will pay $1.035B for Chellomedia. (Scripps Networks Interactive, Turner Broadcasting and Discovery Communications had previously been mentioned as suitors.) Chellomedia produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America and reaches about 390 million households. Included in the deal are Chello-branded channels airing genres ranging from movies to entertainment, sports, children’s, lifestyle and documentary programming. Chellomedia’s stakes in joint ventures with A+E Networks, CBS International and other partners also fall under the acquisition, although Liberty will hold onto its Dutch premium channel business. This deal will provide AMC, home to Mad Men and The Walking Dead, with further outlets for programming from AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. Here’s the official release:
NEW YORK, NY, October 28, 2013 – AMC Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AMCX) announced today it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of Chellomedia, the international content division of Liberty Global (Nasdaq: LBTYA) for €750 million (approximately $1.035 billion USD). The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
The acquisition provides AMC Networks with an extensive array of television channels that are distributed to more than 390 million households in 138 countries. The channels span a range of genres, including movie and entertainment networks, providing significant long-range opportunities for AMC Networks to distribute its popular original programming from AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv across an expansive global footprint. The acquisition builds on the company’s existing international programming business, AMC/Sundance Channel Global, which has experienced impressive growth over the past five years and will continue to deliver AMC Networks’ content to its global distribution partners.
“Chellomedia has developed a remarkable portfolio of popular channels that reach hundreds of millions around the world. As AMC Networks has expanded internationally, we have had a great desire to do something we consider fundamentally strategic, which is to take our content and put it on channels we own. This acquisition allows us to secure a large, global platform on which to distribute our increasingly successful original programming through a collection of strong, well-established and well-managed assets worldwide,” said Josh Sapan, President and CEO of AMC Networks. “Together, we can grow these assets and make them even more popular and valuable around the world.”
Chellomedia President Niall Curran said, “AMC Networks are content professionals with an excellent creative and business track record. They are highly enthusiastic about the business we have built at Chellomedia and are ambitious to develop it further, making AMC Networks a great owner and partner for Chello’s next phase of growth.”
The agreement includes the acquisition of Chellomedia’s operating businesses including: Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America, Chello Multicanal, Chello Zone, the ad sales unit Atmedia and the broadcast solutions unit Chello DMC.
Guggenheim Securities, LLC served as lead financial advisor to AMC Networks as well as providing capital structure and financing advice. BofA Merrill Lynch has provided a commitment for debt financing for the transaction and also served as financial advisor to AMC Networks. Legal advisors were Clifford Chance.