AMC to buy most of Liberty Global's international content unit

Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:48pm EDT
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By Soham Chatterjee

(Reuters) - AMC Networks Inc said it would buy Chellomedia, the international content unit of John Malone's Liberty Global Plc, for about $1.04 billion, giving it greater control over the global distribution of its programs.

Liberty Global, the largest cable operator in Europe, said the deal would help it simplify its business and allow it to focus on its core market, the United States.

AMC Networks, home to hit shows such as "Mad Men", "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead", has been spending money to develop content and expand programming as it takes on HBO, Time Warner Inc's premium cable TV network.

"It seems like a good deal for AMC. They are basically going from 96 million affiliate subscribers to 500 million affiliate subscribers globally," Albert Fried & Co analyst Rich Tullo told Reuters.

Chellomedia's network, consisting of 68 channels, is distributed to 390 million households in 138 countries. Most of its programming comprises movies and entertainment and content acquired from partners.

AMC Networks said the businesses being bought include Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America and Chello Zone.

The network will also acquire Chellomedia's stakes in joint ventures with CBS International, A+E Networks, Zon Optimus and other partners.

Tullo said the deal allows AMC to expand into high-growth eastern European markets, which have good intellectual property protection, and get access to Chellomedia's production assets.   Continued...