Cablevision approves of AMC Networks

Rainbow Media spinoff includes AMC, IFC, Sundance channels

The Cablevision board of directors Monday approved the tax-free spinoff of its cable programming unit formerly known as Rainbow Media with a spin date set for June 30. The business, which includes the AMC, WE, IFC and Sundance channels, will be renamed AMC Networks.

As part of the spinoff, Class A Cablevision shareholders will receive one share of AMC Networks stock for every four of Class A that they own. The same goes for Cablevision Class B shareholders.

“With today’s board action, we are one step closer to creating two distinct companies for investors,” said Cablevision CEO James Dolan. “Rainbow today houses some of cable television’s most admired networks, while Cablevision’s portfolio of industry-leading telecommunications services and local content offerings has made it one of the nation’s leading media and telecommunications companies. We are confident that both the new AMC Networks and Cablevision will continue to build on their considerable records of achievement.”

Dolan will serve on AMC’s board of directors. Rainbow topper Josh Sapan will be AMC Networks’ CEO.

The AMC stock will trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol AMCXV. AMC will incur $2.43 billion in new debt as part of the spinoff, with the proceeds from the issuance to be used to repay existing AMC debt and $1.25 billion of Cablevision debt.

This is the second spinoff for Cablevision in two years after it separated its Madison Square Garden businesses in 2010.