As expected, CBS announced Thursday that it is acquiring CSTV Networks Inc.
The deal -- for linear service College Sports Television, which t is expected to reach some 15 million homes by year-end, and an expansive Web business -- is for $325 million. It is expected to close early next year, after Viacom Inc. is split into two separate companies.
CSTV will still be led by cofounder and CEO Brian Bedol, who will report to Les Moonves, chairman of CBS and co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom. Moonves will lead the new entity, CBS Corp., which will be split from Viacom, with such holdings as MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures.
Bedol, along with Steve Greenberg, a CSTV investor, sold Classic Sports Network in 1997 to ESPN, which has revamped it into ESPN Classic, for some $200 million.
CSTV was launched by Bedol and cofounder Chris Bevilacqua in April 2003.
“I am very excited about this acquisition, which brings a new dimension to our efforts in sports and the digital space, as well,” Moonves said in a prepared statement. “We’re not only getting hugely valuable assets here -- we’re acquiring a superb management team that has a proven record in building lucrative sports-television franchises.”
He continued, “College athletics and the online community it generates represent one of the biggest sectors in sports television, and CSTV has made tremendous strides in capturing this market. We think it’s a natural fit for our company, and we’re confident that, as part of CBS, it will continue to grow and compete even more aggressively.”