CBS in talks to acquire half of TV Guide Network
Looking to expand its cable portfolio, CBS is in talks to acquire a 50% stake in TV Guide Network for about $100 million.
Currently co-owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and One Equity Partners, an investment arm of JPMorgan Chase, TVGN has been on the block for more than a year. CBS would acquire the stake held by One Equity Partners, people familiar with the talks said. An agreement could be announced as early as next week.
Although it is distributed in more than 80 million homes, TVGN has struggled in its attempts to become a mainstream entertainment channel. Launched in 1981, TVGN initially was just a programming guide telling viewers what shows were on what channels. It has bought reruns to lots of shows including HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Weeds.” Its original programming efforts have not resulted in any successes.
For CBS, having a stake in a widely distributed cable channel will give it another home for its library of TV shows as well as a place to try to create new original fare. CBS also owns the pay channel Showtime and the CBS Sports Network. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is also close to Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer.
The $100-million price tag is a comedown for the owners. When TV Guide was first being shopped, Lions Gate and One Equity Partners were looking for more than $350 million but found no takers. Lions Gate bought the channel for $255 million in 2009 and then sold 49% of it to One Equity Partners.
News of the talks was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.
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