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CBS acquires 50% of TV Guide Network for $100 million

March 26, 2013|By Meg James
  • Recording artist Cee Lo Green hangs out with the Muppets for a 2012 holiday special, "Cee Lo's Magic Moment," which ran on the TV Guide Network.
Recording artist Cee Lo Green hangs out with the Muppets for a 2012 holiday… (Erik Kabik / TV Guide Channel )

CBS Corp. has acquired a 50% stake in the TV Guide Network for about $100 million, giving the big broadcaster a larger toehold in cable television.

CBS said Tuesday it had entered into a joint venture with the independent film and television studio Lionsgate, which owns the other 50% of the channel also known as TVGN.  CBS bought out the stake held by One Equity Partners, an investment arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

The 32-year-old TVGN is widely distributed -- it is available in 80 million homes -- but it has stumbled attempting to create an identity after the conversion to digital channels that made the TV Guide channel's once useful rolling scroll of cable channel program schedules irrelevant. 

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Now cable subscribers can easily navigate an interactive channel guide by tapping a button on their remote controls.

The channel had been on the block for more than a year. Lionsgate and One Equity Partners had hoped to sell the outlet for $350 million.

Lionsgate paid $255 million to acquire the channel four years ago. It later sold 49% to One Equity Partners.

In recent years, the channel acquired rerun rights to shows including HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Showtime's "Weeds," which Lionsgate produces. It has not achieved success in original programming.

The website TVGuide.com was included in the deal.

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CBS said its new partnership would combine CBS programming, production capabilities and marketing muscle with Lionsgate’s resources in motion pictures and television. CBS, which is controlled by Sumner Redstone, also owns the Showtime premium networks and CBS College Sports Network.

In recent months, CBS has been making strategic alignments with owners of small cable channels. Last month, it took a minority stake in Mark Cuban's music and live events channel AXS. CBS did not extend any cash in that transaction.

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