Tags: AMC | Networks | BBC | America

AMC Networks Buys Almost Half of BBC America

Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:51 PM

AMC Networks Inc., the cable-TV home of “The Walking Dead,” acquired a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America for $200 million, forming an alliance that will bolster both network in negotiations with pay-TV carriers.

The agreement with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of government-backed British Broadcasting Corp., is structured as a joint venture, according to a statement Thursday. AMC will run BBC America including affiliate and advertising sales, and invest in programming while adhering to BBC editorial standards.

The deal joins BBC America series like the dramas “Doctor Who” and “Orphan Black” under the same roof as AMC shows that include “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men.” AMC Networks, which owns the AMC, Sundance and IFC channels, will include BBC America when it negotiates for fees, giving both players more bargaining heft against pay-TV operators that are consolidating to help restrain rising content costs.

“A combined AMC Networks-BBC America channel group creates a powerful collection of networks that are among the most critically-acclaimed, with distinct dramas and other potent content that creates a deep connection with viewers,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan said in the statement.

Comcast Corp.’s $45 billion plan to purchase Time Warner Cable Inc. and AT&T Inc.’s $48.5 billion deal for DirecTV are challenging network owners to expand to gain leverage in fee discussions with distributors.

Bloomberg News reported in July that AMC was in talks for a stake in BBC America, and last month said the $200 million deal was close.

‘Honourable Woman’

BBC America is available in about 80 million U.S. households, according to its website. AMC and BBC have worked together before, including co-producing shows such as “Top of the Lake” and “The Honourable Woman,” an eight-part series on AMC’s SundanceTV. They agreed to continue jointly pursuing projects.

Also included in the deal is representation of BBC World News in U.S. distribution and domestic advertising sales, according to the statement. It is available in more than 30 million U.S. homes.

Shares of AMC Networks, controlled by the Dolan family, fell 0.5 percent to $58.44 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of about $4.21 billion. The stock has declined 14 percent this year.

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AMC Networks Inc., the cable-TV home of "The Walking Dead," acquired a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America for $200 million, forming an alliance that will bolster both network in negotiations with pay-TV carriers.
AMC, Networks, BBC, America
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2014-51-23
Thursday, 23 Oct 2014 06:51 PM
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