AMC pays $200M for 49.9 percent share of BBC America

Looking to bulk up as an independent cable programmer facing a wave of pay-TV consolidation, AMC Networks will pay $200 million to acquire a 49.9 percent share of BBC America.

AMC will manage advertising and affiliate sales for the BBC America, which runs popular, foreign produced series such as Doctor Who, Luther, Top Gear and Orphan Black. BBC Worldwide will retain a majority stake in the network, which is distributed in about 80 million homes.

The companies say they'll also pursue  "a number of content investment opportunities." 

The partnership "will help us reach new audiences in the U.S., strengthen BBC America's position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community," said BBC director-general Tony Hall, in a statement. "This partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together."

Added AMC chief executive Josh Sapan: "A combined AMC Networks-BBC America channel group creates a powerful collection of networks that are among the most critically acclaimed, with distinct dramas and other potent content that creates a deep connection with viewers. Our content rises to the top on many levels and is particularly well-suited to an era of on-demand viewing and expanding consumer choice."

For more:
- read this USA Today story

Related links:
AMC's 'Walking Dead' shatters cable ratings record, even beats NFL football
Cable networks AMC, Discovery, others face hard times, analyst says
WSJ report: Pay-TV mergers will trigger media consolidation

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