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AMC Networks bolsters reach with new deal

To obtain global platform with $1.04b purchase

The deal provides more opportunities for worldwide content distribution. Above, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in a scene from the season premiere of “The Walking Dead.”

Gene Page/AMC

The deal provides more opportunities for worldwide content distribution. Above, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in a scene from the season premiere of “The Walking Dead.”

LONDON — AMC Networks said Monday that it had agreed to acquire substantially all of Chellomedia, an international content division of Liberty Global, the media company controlled by John C. Malone, in a deal valued at $1.04 billion.

The deal gives AMC access to an array of television networks distributed in 138 countries, while providing additional opportunities to distribute its programming worldwide, including popular shows like “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Mad Men.”

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“As AMC Networks has expanded internationally, we have had a great desire to do something we consider fundamentally strategic, which is to take our content and put it on channels we own,” said Joshua W. Sapan, AMC’s president and chief executive. “This acquisition allows us to secure a large, global platform on which to distribute our increasingly successful original programming through a collection of strong, well-established, and well-managed assets worldwide.”

In addition to its namesake AMC channel, AMC Networks also owns IFC and IFC Films, WE, and the Sundance Channel. It was spun off from Cablevision in 2011.

“AMC Networks are content professionals with an excellent creative and business track record,” said Niall Curran, Chellomedia’s president. “They are highly enthusiastic about the business we have built at Chellomedia and are ambitious to develop it further, making AMC Networks a great owner and partner for Chello’s next phase of growth.”

As part of the deal, AMC will acquire Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America, Chello Multicanal, Chello Zone, the ad sales unit Atmedia, and the broadcast solutions unit Chello DMC.

Liberty Global will retain its Dutch premium channel business, which consists of the Film1 and Sport1 channels.

The deal comes nearly two weeks after Liberty Global had a setback when Ziggo, the largest provider of cable television services in the Netherlands, rejected a buyout offer that it considered “inadequate.”

The German magazine Manager Magazin reported at the time that Liberty Global, one of Ziggo’s largest shareholders, was planning to buy out the company and merge it with two others already owned by Liberty Global — UPC Netherlands, the second-largest cable provider in the Netherlands, and Telenet of Belgium.

Last year, Liberty Global paid $2.5 billion to buy the remaining half of the Telenet Group it did not previously own. Liberty Global acquired a controlling stake in the Belgium cable company in 2007.

Liberty Global, the international broadband arm of Malone’s media and telecommunications empire, also owns Virgin Media in Britain and Unity Media in Germany.

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