MGM in Talks to Buy Out Epix Partners Lionsgate, Viacom (Report)
MGM is reportedly in talks to buy out partners Lionsgate and Viacom and become sole owner of premium cable channel Epix.
MGM currently owns 19% of Epix, while Viacom owns 50% and Lionsgate own the remaining 32%. Following its acquisition of premium network Starz last year, Lionsgate indicated that it would look to unload its stake in Epix. Viacom, meanwhile, has $12 billion in debt that it has promised to pay down — a goal that an Epix deal would help achieve.
News of the possible deal was first reported Thursday by Reuters.
According to Reuters, a possible deal would likely include Paramount and Lionsgate agreeing to continue to distribute their movies through Epix for several years to come. Epix, which includes a companion digital streaming service, would reportedly be valued between $1 billion and $2 billion.
A representative for MGM declined to comment.
Epix was launched in 2009 as a partnership between Viacom-owned Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate, as a premium outlet for films from the three studios. Speaking to Variety last year, Epix CEO Mark Greenberg said, “When we launched Epix we knew that linear TV was just one platform. Digital was a way of giving people more choice and more convenience. It’s not that different from the old days of going to a Blockbuster store. We’ve just put it in the cloud.”
Epix has recently ventured into original scripted programming with series such as “Graves” and “Berlin Station,” both of which premiered last year and have been renewed for second seasons.