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Haim Saban joins Lions Gate's Asia pay-TV venture Tiger Gate

The media tycoon's firm, Saban Capital, will initially match Lions Gate's investment to date of several million dollars, with more funding for the venture expected in the future.

April 06, 2010|By Claudia Eller

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has clinched a deal with media tycoon Haim Saban's private investment firm, Saban Capital Group, to become a partner in Tiger Gate, the company's recently launched pay-TV venture in Asia.

Saban Capital, which owns stakes in Spanish-language media company Univision and Israel's telecommunications provider Bezeq, will initially match Lions Gate's Tiger Gate investment to date of several million dollars, with more funding expected in the future.

Saban's infusion will enable the partners to expand Tiger Gate's presence across Asia with additional channels and the acquisition of existing media assets in the region.

Hong Kong-based Tiger Gate operates the thriller channel Thrill and action comedy channel Kix, both of which will also launch in Hong Kong and Singapore on April 28. Tiger Gate plans to expand to Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei in the coming year.

Plans are also under discussion for moves into China, India, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the Middle East.

Tiger Gate will continue to be run by Chief Executive William Pfeiffer and Lions Gate international executive Paul Presburger.

The venture will continue to distribute a combination of Lions Gate films, locally produced content and third-party acquisitions including Hollywood and Asian movies.

Saban is the latest financial partner to join Lions Gate in its growing cable channel business.

The studio is partnered with JPMorgan Chase's One Equity Partners in TV Guide Network and TV; with Viacom Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. in pay-TV start-up Epix; and with Comcast Corp. and Sony Pictures Entertainment in the horror channel Fearnet.

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