MGM buys the remaining of premium US channel Epix for about $1 bn

MGM Holdings Inc, the parent of media company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, yesterday said that it would buy the 81-per cent of premium US channel Epix it does not already own from two of its partners, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, for about $1 billion.

The deal will help Viacom, which holds a 50-per cent stake in Epix, to pay down its $12-billion debt load, while Lionsgate had earlier said it is exploring options for its nearly 32-per cent stake in Epix following its $4.4 billion acquisition of pay TV network Starz Entertainment.

Paramount Pictures and Lions Gate will continue to provide their first-run theatrical releases to Epix under multi-year agreements, the companies said in a joint statement.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this month.

New York City-based Epix is owned by Studio 3 Partners, a joint venture of Viacom's subdivision Paramount Pictures, MGM Holdings, and Lions Gate Entertainment.

The Epix television channel features new theatrically released motion pictures from its owners, original documentaries, music and comedy specials, and series.

Available in over 50 million homes nationwide, EPIX is distributed across major TV providers including cable, satellite and telco partners, mobile phones, tablets and connected TV devices.

Epix was the first premium network to provide multi-platform access online at Epix.com as well as on Xbox, PlayStation, Android phones and tablets and Roku players.

EPIX is also available on Apple iPhones and iPads, Chromecast, Android TV and others.

Epix has 8.8 million subscribers and revenue of $413.8 million in 2016.

The deal is expected to boost MGM's TV business as it seeks to build a stronger platform to distribute its content.

MGM is controlled by hedge funds, including Anchorage Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners.