Lionsgate ‘in talks to sell Epix stake’

Lionsgate Entertainment is reportedly set to offload its stake in US premium cable channel Epix to its joint venture partners, Viacom and MGM.


Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

According to Reuters citing unnamed sources, Lionsgate has initiated talks with MGM Holdings and Viacom’s film arm, Paramount Pictures, over a deal.

Lionsgate has just completed its US$4.4 billion takeover of pay TV operator Starz, which is a rival of Epix’s in the US premium cable space.

The current Epix ownership structure sees Paramount holding a roughly 50% stake, with Lionsgate taking just under 32% and MGM around 19%.

A deal would value Epix at somewhere between US$1 billon and US$2 billion, according to Reuters.

Epix has been pushing into the original content space in the past two years, debuting its first originals Berlin Station and Graves, in a bid to build on its estimated 14 million subscribers.

It recently secured a deal to create a small screen version of arthouse film Picture Paris with movie star Megan Ryan.

Viacom, meanwhile, recently appointed Bob Bakish as its new president and CEO, with David Lynn taking on his former as chief executive of Viacom International Media Networks.

Bakish’s predecessor, Philippe Dauman, had sought to sell a significant minority stake in Paramount to a Chinese buyer, a plan to in part triggered the bitter boardroom battle with Viacom owner Sumner Redstone that ultimately resulted in the CEO’s exit.