Report: MGM in Talks to Purchase Epix Stakes

Viacom, Lionsgate negotiating to sell interest in premium network

MGM is in early talks with Viacom and Lionsgate to purchase their stakes in Epix, in a deal that would value the premium channel at between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to Reuters.

Reuters added that it was still early in the talks, so completion of the deal is not guaranteed. MGM already owns an 18.8% interest in the channel.

But Viacom and Lionsgate, which own 50% and 31.2% of the movie channel, respectively, have been hinting about a sale for months. Last year Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said the content company was having “conversations” with its partners about its Epix stake, adding that the premium channel was not a strategic platform for the company. Lionsgate’s interest in the channel waned especially after it purchased rival premium network Starz for $4.4 billion in June.

Viacom also has been a motivated seller as it has looked to streamline and sell off non-essential assets.

Epix launched in 2009 and is available in about 14 million homes, according to SNL Kagan. The network offers movies from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount and has had some success with original series like Graves and Berlin Station.

According to Reuters, a deal could be announced as early as next week. Both Lionsgate and Viacom’s Paramount Pictures studios would continue to provide content to the channel after the separation, the news service said, citing people familiar with the deal.

Viacom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Lionsgate spokesperson declined comment.