MONTREAL – Atlantis Communications of Toronto has increased its stake in the Life Network, a Canadian specialty broadcaster, from 80% to 100%.

Atlantis bought out the remaining minority shareholders in the specialty channel operator, including PS Production Services, a Toronto equipment rental company. The remaining shareholders in the Life Network received a combination of cash and approximately 475,000 subordinate voting shares in Atlantis.

The Life Network, a lifestyle information channel that began broadcasting two years ago, started to deliver modest earnings for Atlantis almost immediately.

The Life Network also is the majority shareholder in Home & Garden Television Canada, a new specialty outlet set to begin operating in the fall. The latter specialty channel is partly owned by the U.S. Home & Garden network, and the U.S. service will supply programming to its Canadian counterpart.

Atlantis will be upping its presence even further in the Canadian specialty channel biz in the years to come, said Atlantis chairman and CEO Michael MacMillan, who said the company plans to start channels devoted to food, travel and other lifestyle subjects.

“The subject matter of life is very appealing to advertisers,” MacMillan said. “Those topics are naturally ones that advertisers want to be associated with. So far, the advertising response has been terrific.”

The Life Network is distributed to more than 5 million Canada households.

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