Cablevision Systems said its board of directors has approved the planned spin-off of its AMC Networks programming unit, adding that shares of the new entity will be distributed to shareholders on June 30.
Cablevision announced in December that it intended to spin-off its programming unit, Rainbow Media Holdings, including popular cable networks AMC, WE tv, IFC, Sundance Channel and IFC Films, as a separate entity. It later announced the new unit would be renamed AMC Networks. After the spin the new company will also operate AMC/Sundance Channel Global, an international programming business, and AMC Networks Broadcasting & Technology, a full-service network programming feed origination and distribution company.
"With today's board action, we are one step closer to creating two distinct companies for investors. Rainbow today houses some of cable television's most admired networks, while Cablevision's portfolio of industry-leading telecommunications services and local content offerings has made it one of the nation's leading media and telecommunications companies," Cablevision CEO James Dolan said in a statement. "We are confident that both the new AMC Networks and Cablevision will continue to build on their considerable records of achievement." In addition to his role as Cablevision President and CEO, James Dolan will also serve on the new AMC Networks' board of directors.
On the distribution date, Cablevision shareholders of record will receive one share of AMC Networks for every four shares Cablevision stock they own. Following the spin-off, Cablevision founder Charles Dolan will become executive chairman of AMC Networks and will continue in his present role as chairman of Cablevision. Rainbow Media CEO Josh Sapan will become president and CEO of AMC Networks after the spin.
AMC Network's Class A common stock is expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on a "when issued" basis on June 16 under the symbol "AMCXV." The shares will trade "regular way" under the symbol "AMCX" on July 1.
As part of the spin-off, AMC Networks will incur approximately $2.43 billion of new debt, consisting of $1.73 billion aggregate principal amount of senior secured term loans and $700 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes. Proceeds from the financing will be used to repay all outstanding AMC Networks debt and approximately $1.25 billion of Cablevision and/or CSC Holdings, LLC debt.