AMC Networks to buy Liberty Global's Chellomedia for $1.04 bn

US cable TV operator AMC Networks Inc yesterday said it would buy most of the assets of Liberty Global's international content unit Chellomedia, for about €750 million ($1.04 billion).

The deal gives AMC Networks an extensive array of London-based Chellomedia's television channels that are distributed to more than 390 million households in 138 countries.

The channels include Chello Multicanal, Chello Central Europe, Chello Zone, Chello Latin America, Chello DMC and Chellomedia's stakes in its joint ventures with CBS International, A+E Networks, Zon Optimus and other partners, but Liberty Global will retain its Dutch premium channels Film1 and Sport1.

The acquisition span a range of genres, including movie and entertainment networks, which will allow AMC Networks to distribute its original programming from AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv across an expansive global footprint.

The assets to be divested generated revenues of around €350 million ($451 million) during the last twelve-months ended 30 June 2013.

Liberty Global said that it expects to realise €750 million ($1,035 million) cash proceeds for the transaction.

''Chellomedia has developed a remarkable portfolio of popular channels that reach hundreds of millions around the world. This acquisition allows us to secure a large, global platform on which to distribute our increasingly successful original programming through a collection of strong, well-established and well-managed assets worldwide,'' said Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks.

Chellomedia president, Niall Curran said, ''AMC Networks are content professionals with an excellent creative and business track record. They are highly enthusiastic about the business we have built at Chellomedia and are ambitious to develop it further, making AMC Networks a great owner and partner for Chello's next phase of growth.''

Liberty Global, run by US billionaire John Malone, has splurged around $40 billion in the past six years in acquiring European assets.

Early this year it paid €17.2 billion ($22.5 billion) for buying Virgin Media Inc, the UK's second largest pay-TV operator, and a 27.3 per cent stake in US cable television operator Charter Communications Inc for about $2.62 billion.

But this month, Liberty Global, which recently acquired 12.650-per cent stake in the Netherlands' largest cable operator Ziggo for $808 million, saw its takeover proposal being rejected by the company, which said that the offer was inadequate.

Liberty Global was also outbid by Vodafone Group for German operator Kabel Deutschland.

Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Global, formed through the 2005 merger of Liberty Media and UnitedGlobalCom, operates in 10 countries in Europe, and is the largest cable operator in Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic.

In the Americas, Liberty Global's operations consists of Liberty Cablevision, a provider of pay TV, while in Puerto Rico, it runs internet, and telephone services and television, telephone and internet services through VTR Chile, in Chile.

It also has a 50-per cent stake in MGM Networks in the US through Chellomedia.

It is currently focusing in Europe and Latin America, while divesting operations in other parts of the world. In operates in five countries in Central-Eastern Europe.

Eighty per cent of its revenue comes from Europe, of which, two-thirds comes from four countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

New York-based AMC Networks owns and operates cable televisions, including AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, and IFC Films produce and deliver content across multiple platforms.

The company also operates AMC / Sundance Channel Global, an international programming business, and AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology, a full-service network programming origination and distribution company.