Epix movie service will soon have a sole proprietor: MGM announced Wednesday that it will buy out the other two co-founders of Epix for just over $1 billion.
Viacom and Lionsgate hold more than 80% in combined membership interests in Epix, which MGM will acquire, pending regulatory approval, for about $1.032 billion in a deal first put into motion earlier this year. The sale was also anticipated given Lionsgate’s expansion of Epix competition Starz, which is driving a significant portion of the company’s TV business.
Gary Barber, Chairman and CEO of MGM, said in a statement that that the merger places Epix in a position to capitalize on the evolving ways that consumers are choosing to view films and television. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said that his company is shifting its investment focus to wholly owned platforms, likely referencing Starz.
Related: Epix app comes to Apple TV
Founded in 2009, Epix was valued for this deal at $1.275 billion. The deal will give MGM control over EPIX's four linear pay television channels: EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX Hits and EPIX Drive-In. As part of the transaction, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate will continue to provide their new movie releases to EPIX for at least five to six years, Variety reported.
"This agreement between our founding partners MGM, Lionsgate and Viacom reflects the significant value already created in this joint-venture, while acknowledging the accelerated growth potential of EPIX with a single, focused and committed owner,” said Mark Greenberg, president and CEO of EPIX, in a statement.
Epix's four traditional pay-TV channels could be a way for MGM to boost its production of TV serials—an increasingly popular consumer choice—while also more widely distributing films it already owns. That list includes the "James Bond" franchise, "The Wizard of Oz," "Jaws" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," TheStreet reported.
This transaction follows the company's recent expansion of its premium content capabilities after its 2016 acquisition of United Artists Media Group.