×

Goldman Sachs shops stake in ‘CSI’ franchise

Bank's 50% share of three skeins could fetch around $500 million

Goldman Sachs has put its 50% stake in the lucrative “CSIfranchise on the block, and the investment bank is seeking at least $500 million, industry sources say.

Goldman hopes to find a buyer for its share of the three series — “CSI,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: NY” — within the next two weeks, according to sources close to the discussions. However, Goldman Sachs is not any rush to get a deal done and won’t let it go at a fire sale price.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

CBS owns the other half of the skeins and controls all domestic and international distribution rights, but the Eye is not expected to be a contender for the Goldman stake.

The three shows have been hugely profitable for its partners through domestic syndication deals and international licensing since the original series bowed in 2000. Digital licensing pacts with Netflix, Hulu and other platforms are generating more windfalls. Financial details for the property have been disclosed in recent weeks to prospective suitors.

Goldman acquired the interest in the shows through its purchase in 2007 of “CSI” co-producer Alliance Atlantis, which the bank bought in partnership with CanWest Global Communications. In that transaction, Goldman retained the rights to the Alliance Atlantis entertainment library, of which “CSI” is by far the biggest property.

Goldman is known to have mulled the sale of its “CSI” assets for some time. The recent growth of international TV opportunities and the appetite for high-end TV content from digital platforms spurred Goldman’s decision to act now, although some observers question the valuations of those rights.

The “CSI” shows have consistently been among the most-watched U.S. TV exports around the world. And the library is stocked with more than 600 episodes. “CSI: Miami,” which ended its 10-season run on CBS earlier this year, racked up 232 episodes. The mothership “CSI” is at 280 episodes and counting, while “CSI: New York” is closing in on 200 episodes.

Goldman has somewhat decreased its entertainment profile in recent months. It’s currently shopping its stake in a library of Weinstein Co. titles, which the bank took control of in 2010 as part of Weinstein Co.’s restructuring.

The hefty sale price that the “CSI” franchise is claiming will no doubt stir some agita for execs at Disney. The first “CSI” series was developed and produced by the Mouse House’s Touchstone TV unit through its pact with Jerry Bruckheimer. But Disney famously backed out of the show in the summer of 2000 — after “CSI” had a series order from CBS but before it went on the air — out of what proved to be a short-sighted concern about shouldering big deficits for a non-ABC drama series.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content