MGM Assumes Full Epix Ownership With $1.2 Billion Buyout5 Apr, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Studio acquires majority stakes held by Lionsgate and Viacom
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer April 5 announced it has acquired full ownership of multiplatform premium TV network Epix after buying out majority partners Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures (Viacom) for $1.2 billion. Viacom and Lionsgate owned 49.76% and 31.15% stakes, respectively.
The deal gives MGM control over Epix’s four linear pay-TV channels (Epix, Epix2, Epix Hits, Epix Drive-In), which are available via cable, satellite and telecom distributors. Epix is also available through a range of online TV properties.
Epix original programming includes series “Berlin Station,” Golden Globe nominated comedy “Graves” and, premiering in 2017, “Get Shorty,” as well as original documentaries, music and comedy specials.
“The addition of Epix provides MGM with a premier distribution platform that complements our strong stable of new and library content in both film and television,” Gary Barber, CEO of MGM, said in a statement.
Barber added that the acquisition creates increased revenue diversity, new opportunities for growth, and earnings accretion for the benefit of stockholders. Epix will continue as a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM.
Launched in 2009 and headed by CEO Mark Greenberg, Epix helped pioneer the development of “TV Everywhere,” enabling subscribers to watch content on demand. With its access to studio movies and original programming, Epix was seen as an antidote to burgeoning over-the-top video platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Since acquiring Starz, in addition to launching proprietary OTT video platforms, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer had made no secret the studio/distributor was looking at third-party suitors.
“We are proud to have built a technologically advanced, consumer-facing platform driven by great content,” he said.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is anticipated to close this month.