CBS Nears Deal for Half of TV Guide Network

Eye to buy out JP Morgan Chase's 49% stake in cabler and website

CBS is poised to add more cable to its asset mix as it nears a deal to scoop up JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s half of TV Guide Network, which has been on the block for some time.

Sources said the Eye will pay just under $100 million for 49% stake in the cabler held by JP Morgan Chase’s One Equity investment arm. TV Guide has a subscriber base of 80 million homes. Lionsgate bought the cabler for $255 million in 2009 and sold the 49% share to One Equity later that year.

CBS was known to have looked at the TV Guide Network and its TVGuide.com online offshoot last year when Lionsgate and One Equity were shopping the entire channel.  News that CBS is zeroing in on One Equity’s stake was first reported by Deadline.

TV Guide has broad distribution but remains a weak player in the general entertainment cable landscape. But with its vault, the Eye has plenty of programming options to steer to the channel, plus CBS sees upside in operating it with a partner that is also in the film and TV production biz.

CBS and Lionsgate declined comment.

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