AMC Networks Buys RLJ Entertainment, Adding Streaming Assets

AMC Networks

AMC Networks is paying $274 million to acquire RLJ Entertainment after buying a stake in the media company in February.

RLJ, which was built by notable media figure Robert L. Johnson, controls assets like subscription streaming services Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel. Together, the two SVODs have racked up 800,000 subscribers, up 45% over the past year.

“Bob Johnson is a legend for good reasons that we are the beneficiaries of,” said Josh Sapan, CEO of AMC Networks. “His management team is extraordinary, having successfully transitioned Acorn TV from a home video and DVD business to a leading direct-to-consumer subscription service, and growing both Acorn TV and UMC in a competitive environment, by offering excellent, sought-after content and creating strong brands.”

RLJ also has a majority stake in the Agatha Christie library, which will offer opportunities to AMC’s portfolio of networks. Fox recently made a profitable film remake of Murder on the Orient Express, and Amazon has set a multi-title deal for Christie adaptation.

Scott R. Royster, RLJ’s lead independent director, served on the company’s Special Committee of the Board established to evaluate, negotiate and determine whether to approve AMC’s going-private proposal. “Our mission during the transaction process was to carefully evaluate AMC’s proposal and negotiate the best price and overall deal terms attainable for the company’s
non-affiliate common stockholders,” he said. “The going-private transaction with AMC provides stockholders with immediate liquidity, and the merger price represents a substantial premium to the company’s unaffected stock price.”

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