CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBS-A) (NYSE:CBS) is buying its way into a partnership with Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF-A), creating a 50/50 joint venture to own the TVGuide.com website and TVGN cable channel, the companies announced yesterday.
Lionsgate purchased the TV Guide Network for $250 million in 2009, then sold 49% of its stake to JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE:JPM) private equity firm One Equity Partners. CBS bought that stake from One Equity -- plus a further 1% from Lionsgate -- to make CBS and Lionsgate equal partners in the venture. The price CBS paid was not disclosed in the press release.
According to a statement released by the companies, Lionsgate's primary objective is to "rebrand and grow" the TVGN channel. CBS sees the venture as a "strategic way for CBS to use its content brands and gain access to a highly distributed basic cable network that has a lot of upside," said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. The basic cable network is available in more than 80 million homes and will "continue to be entertainment-focused ..."