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CBS buys 50% stake in TV Guide Network

CBS has acquired a 50% stake in US cable network TV Guide Network, which will now be run as a joint venture with Lionsgate.

The companies have announced have entered into a 50/50 partnership for TVGN and the TVGuide.com website. They plan to keep the channel, which is available in around 80 million homes, entertainment-focused but will unveil a “specific rebranding” and programming strategy at a “later date”.

CBS has paid former equity holder One Equity Partners an undisclosed amount for the stake, though the Wall Street Journal placed the figure at around US$100 million. The deal closed yesterday, with OEP, the global investment arm of JPMorgan Chase, exiting the channel.

“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 CEO, 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 CEO Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns in a statement.

“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.