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Sony Buys U.K.’s CSC Media Group with 16 TV Channels

LONDON — Sony Pictures Television is to acquire CSC Media Group, which operates 16 ad-supported channels in the U.K.

The deal was struck between SPT Networks and private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson, majority shareholders in the CSC Media Group, with SPT acquiring 100% of the company.

Following the acquisition, SPT Networks will be the No. 5 cable/satellite/multichannel player in the U.K. market in commercial ad views. Advertising on all of SPT’s channels is sold by BSkyB. Once the acquisition is concluded, the company will report to Kate Marsh, SPT’s senior VP, networks, Western Europe.

SPT entered the U.K. market in 2011 with one channel feed (Sony Entertainment Television) on Sky, and had grown to nine channel feeds across multiple platforms, including two free-to-air national feeds on Freeview, reaching a combined total of more than 20 million viewers per month. Channel brands include Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Movie Channel, Movies 4 Men and Movie Mix.

The acquisition of CSC complements SPT’s current movie and entertainment channels, and expands its offering into the music and children’s genres with the addition of brands including True Entertainment, Pop and Chart Show TV. Additionally, the deal expands SPT’s reach on Freeview from two to four channels. The CSC channels are also distributed internationally in Ireland and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The acquisition of CSC further demonstrates our commitment to the U.K. market and our intent to continue to grow our tremendously successful global portfolio of networks,” said Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for Sony Pictures Television.

“These new channels perfectly complement our current offerings, allowing us to provide viewers with a variety of entertainment choices and advertisers with greater reach and cross-channel opportunities.”

Remy Minute, CEO of CSC Media Group, said: “CSC has grown from a small bouquet channel operator to become one of the leading multi-channel ad-supported TV networks in the U.K. This combination with SPT allows us to accelerate our growth trajectory, both internationally and domestically.”

Morgan Callagy, partner at Veronis Suhler Stevenson, stated: “Over the past seven years, we have presided over meaningful growth in the CSC business during a time of significant changes in the U.K. television industry. We are pleased to see that this unique business will now be in an ideal home for the next phase of its growth.”

CSC, which is one of the U.K.’s largest independent cable/satellite TV channel groups with a portfolio of channels across kids, music, and movies and entertainment genres, was founded in 2007 via the acquisition of the Chart Show portfolio of channels by private equity group Veronis Suhler Stevenson and a new management team. Its channels are available on Sky Digital, Virgin Media, Freesat and on Freeview. CSC also owns and operates a number of complementary websites, on-demand services and mobile apps.

Berenson & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to SPT on this transaction. Lepe Partners acted as financial advisor to CSC.

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