Report: CBS Close to Deal To Acquire Half of TV Guide

Broadcaster Will Partner With Current Owner Lions Gate
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CBS Corp. is close to a deal that will bring it a 49% interest in TV Guide, including cable channel TV Guide Network, for an estimated $122 million, according to reports.

According to an item in Deadline Hollywood,  CBS will purchase the 49% interest from JP Morgan’s One Equity Partners.

Deadline said CBS would pay slightly less than the $122 million One Equity paid for the stake in 2009. CBS also would have the right to kick up its interest to 50%.

TV Guide includes the TV Guide Network, which is available in about 80 million homes, and website TV Lions Gate Entertainment, parent of the Lionsgate movie studio, purchased the company in 2009 for about $240 million.

Officials at CBS and Lions Gate declined comment. Officials at TV Guide did not return calls for comment.

TV Guide has been on the block for about a year, but has drawn little interest. Part of the reason for the tepid past response has been its contractual obligation to run guide grids taking up most of its screen space. That is changing and heading into 2013, TV Guide said it had full screens available in 83% of its households, up from 70% in 2012.  

Lions Gate has tried to beef up the channel, adding original programming like comedy series StandUp in Stilettos, reality shows Nail Files and Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On and acquired programming like Celebrity Style Story and Rove LA. Rounding out the lineup are the channel’s red carpet specials across the entertainment industry’s award season and movies like Driving Miss Daisy and The Fugitive.