SiTV Media agreed to pay $226M — and give MSG a 15% stake — the entities disclosed this morning. The total value of the cash plus equity comes to about $275M, Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil estimates. In any event, the company where Jennifer Lopez is a shareholder and Chief Creative Officer outbid an offer from Sean Combs said to be around $200M. Fuse reaches 73M pay TV subscribers, and should boost SiTV and NuvoTV — a Latin American entertainment network that reaches about 34M homes. With Fuse “we’ll have the ability to deliver a broad array of terrific content both from a Latino perspective and across multiple genres, including music, to a broader audience,” Lopez says. “The acquisition of Fuse means we now own two wonderful assets. It’s a phenomenal time for our company and we look forward to growing both networks in the years ahead.” SiTV CEO Michael Schwimmer adds that the deal “enhances our distribution relationships, dramatically expands our aggregate subscriber base, provides substantial economies of scale, affords unique opportunities for programming and cross-promotion and should be extremely appealing to the advertising community as we roll out our plans for both NuvoTV and Fuse.” NuvoTV plans to “create dynamic content” for Fuse’s street front studio across from Madison Square Garden. MSG will get a seat on the SiTV board after the deal closes, expected by the end of September.
MSG shares were essentially flat on the news. Some company watchers expected Fuse to go for as much as $300M based on the $500M that Al Jazeera paid for CurrentTV. MSG put Fuse on the block in September as it sought to boost its stock price, which has stagnated over the last year, and as some shareholders said they wanted the company to return cash to them, possibly by repurchasing shares. Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan is also Executive Chairman of MSG; his family controls 69% of its voting shares. Last month MSG tapped former Cablevision exec Tad Smith to be CEO, replacing Hank Ratner who held the top job since 2009. Dolan is deeply involved in the music industry as a front man of a gigging blues band — JD and the Straight Shot — and with a recent investment partnership with longtime music manager Irving Azoff.
LionTree Advisors and Jefferies gave financial advice to SiTV, while Greenberg Traurig and Goodwin Proctor handled legal matters. On the MSG side, J.P. Morgan worked on finances and Sullivan & Cromwell provided legal counsel. Jefferies Finance provided financing commitments.
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