MGM Holdings Inc. announced Wednesday it is taking over premium channel Epix in a $1.03 billion acquisition of the 80.9 percent stake in the company it doesn’t already own.
MGM will acquire Viacom’s 49.76 percent stake as well as Lionsgate’s 31.15 percent, the company said. The deal values Epix at almost $1.28 billion and is expected to boost privately-held Beverly Hills entertainment studio MGM’s TV business.
Epix was founded by the three studios in 2009 and serves as a premium movie channel and internet streaming service where the studios’ films were showcased. Epix grew into a profitable venture for the partners, generating upwards of $100 million in operating income last year with 15 million subscribers, according to Variety.
“EPIX is well positioned to capitalize on the evolving patterns of content consumption in a dynamic distribution landscape,” Gary Barber, chairman and chief executive of MGM, said in a statement.
Part of the deal calls for Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate to continue licensing new theatrical releases and library titles to Epix, guaranteeing the movie service a pipeline of new product for a term of at least five to six years.
“We welcome the opportunity to strengthen our balance sheet by realizing the value of our equity investment, while also extending the successful commercial partnership between EPIX and Paramount Pictures with a new multi-year output agreement,” Bob Bakish, chief executive of Viacom, said in a statement.
The sale is yet to be approved by regulators and is expected to close this month, MGM said.
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