Sony Pictures Television (SPT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is to buy CSC Media Group (CSC), one of the UK’s largest independent cable/satellite TV channel groups in a £107 million (€134m) deal.
Under the agreement, SPT will own and operate the 16 ad-supported channels in the company’s portfolio, pending regulatory approval. The deal has been struck between SPT Networks and private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson, majority shareholders in the CSC Media Group, with SPT acquiring 100 per cent of the company.
“The acquisition of CSC further demonstrates our commitment to the UK market and our intent to continue to grow our tremendously successful global portfolio of networks,” said Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for Sony Pictures Television. “These new channels perfectly complement our current offerings, allowing us to provide viewers with a variety of entertainment choices and advertisers with greater reach and cross-channel opportunities.”
Remy Minute, CEO of CSC Media Group, said: ”CSC has grown from a small bouquet channel operator to become one of the leading multi-channel ad-supported TV networks in the UK. This combination with SPT allows us to accelerate our growth trajectory, both internationally and domestically. I very much look forward to working with the team at SPT.”
Morgan Callagy, Partner at Veronis Suhler Stevenson, stated: “Over the past seven years, we have presided over meaningful growth in the CSC business during a time of significant changes in the UK television industry. We are pleased to see that this unique business will now be in an ideal home for the next phase of its growth.”
Following the acquisition, SPT Networks will be the No. 5 cable/satellite/multichannel player in the UK market in commercial ad views. Advertising on all of SPT’s channels is sold by Sky. Once the acquisition is concluded, the company will report to Kate Marsh, SPT’s senior vice president, Networks, Western Europe.
SPT entered the UK market in 2011 with one channel feed (Sony Entertainment Television) on Sky and had grown to nine channel feeds across multiple platforms including two free-to-air national feeds on Freeview, reaching a combined total of more than 20 million viewers per month. Channel brands include Sony Entertainment Television, Sony Movie Channel, Movies 4 Men, and Movie Mix. Sony says the acquisition complements its current movie and entertainment channels and expands its offering into the music and children’s genres with the addition of brands including True Entertainment, Pop and Chart ShowTV.
Additionally, the deal expands SPT’s reach on Freeview from two to four channels. The CSC channels are also distributed internationally in Ireland and Sub-Saharan Africa. Berenson & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to SPT on this transaction. Lepe Partners acted as financial advisor to CSC.
CSC is one of the UK’s largest independent cable/satellite TV channel groups with a portfolio of channels across kids, music, and movies and entertainment genres. CSC was founded in 2007 via the acquisition of the Chart Show portfolio of channels by private equity group Veronis Suhler Stevenson and a new management team. Its channels are available on Sky Digital, Virgin Media, Freesat and on Freeview. CSC also owns and operates a number of complementary websites, on-demand services and mobile apps.