(Reuters) - MGM Holdings Inc said it would acquire the 81 percent of premium U.S. channel Epix it does not already own from two of its partners, Viacom Inc and Lionsgate Entertainment Corp, for about $1 billion.
The deal is expected to boost MGM’s TV business as it seeks to build a stronger platform to distribute its content.
Viacom currently owns half of Epix, while Lionsgate has a 31.2 percent stake.
Epix, whose shows include “Berlin Station” and “Graves,” has about 14 million subscribers, according to research firm SNL Kagan.
Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate will continue to provide their first-run theatrical releases to Epix under multi-year agreements, the companies said in a joint statement.
The deal is expected to close by the end of this month.
Famous for its library that includes James Bond, Rocky and other classics, MGM also co-produces and distributes television shows such as “Teen Wolf” on MTV, “Vikings” on A&E and “Fargo” on FX.
It also owns MGM-branded U.S. channels that largely play its films and international networks.
MGM, which emerged from bankruptcy six years ago, is controlled by hedge funds including Anchorage Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners.
LionTree Advisors was financial adviser to Viacom and Lionsgate. Shearman & Sterling LLP was legal adviser to Viacom, while O’Melveny & Myers LLP served as Lionsgate’s legal adviser. Latham & Watkins LLP was MGM’s legal adviser.
Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee and Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva