COLOGNE, Germany – AMC Networks, the parent company of The Walking Dead and Mad Men network AMC, has signed a deal to acquire Chellomedia, the international content division of John Malone's Liberty Global, for just over $1 billion (€750 million), AMC Networks announced Monday.
The deal, expected to close in the first quarter of next year, will give AMC a major international boost, providing the group with Chellomedia's vast international network of specialty channels with a footprint that spreads over some 138 countries and reaches more than 390 million households.
The agreement includes the acquisition of Chellomedia’s operating businesses including: Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America, Chello Multicanal, Chello Zone, the ad sales unit Atmedia and the broadcast solutions unit Chello DMC. AMC will also take over Chellomedia's joint ventures with CBS International, A+E Networks and Zon Optimus. Liberty Global will hold onto its Dutch premium channel business, including its Film1 and Sport1 channels.
The deal is certain to give further impetus to AMC's rapid global expansion and to give the group new opportunities to distribute its original programming from U.S. networks including AMC, Sundance Channel, IFC and We tv.
“As AMC Networks has expanded internationally, we have had a great desire to do something we consider fundamentally strategic, which is to take our content and put it on channels we own," said Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks. "This acquisition allows us to secure a large, global platform on which to distribute our increasingly successful original programming through a collection of strong, well-established and well-managed assets worldwide."
Guggenheim Securities served as lead financial advisor to AMC Networks as well as providing capital structure and financing advice on the deal. BofA Merrill Lynch provided a commitment for debt financing for the transaction and also served as financial advisor to AMC Networks. Legal advisors were Clifford Chance.