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CBS Buys Out Lionsgate’s Stake in TV Guide Digital

TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile apps will become part of CBS Interactive

CBS announced that it has acquired TV Guide Digital, which includes TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile properties, which will become part of CBS Interactive.

Under the terms of the deal, CBS  acquired the remaining 50% stake in TV Guide Digital shares from Lionsgate; the companies did not disclose additional details. CBS and Lionsgate’s 50-50 partnership for the TVGN cable network, announced in March, will continue.

TVGuide.com and the TV Guide Mobile apps will become part of CBS Interactive’s Technology, Games and Lifestyle group.

“TV Guide is one of the most enduring and iconic brands in the world of television and video, and we’re proud to welcome TV Guide Digital to the CBS Interactive family,” CBS Interactive prexy Jim Lanzone said in announcing the pact. “TVGuide.com and TV Guide Mobile have the biggest and most-engaged audiences in the valuable TV information category, making them a perfect fit for our portfolio of premium content brands.”

TV Guide Digital was formed in 2006. The website now attracts more than 16.5 million monthly unique visitors, according to Omniture, and its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 9 million times and have 2.5 million average monthly visitors.

CBS Interactive’s current 25 brands include CBS.com, CBSSports.com, CNET, GameSpot and TV.com.

The TV Guide properties have a complicated history. They were part of Gemstar-TV Guide International, which was acquired by Macrovision Solutions (now Rovi) in May 2008. Rovi in 2009 sold TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com to Lionsgate and One Equity Partners, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase; One Equity sold its stake to CBS in March for just under $100 million, according to reports.

Separately, in 2008 Rovi sold the money-losing TV Guide Magazine to venture-capital firm OpenGate Capital for $1 and loaned the firm $9.5 million to run it.

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