CBS Buys Into Cable, Secures Stake In Cuban's AXS

Les-Moonves-A2Stirring up interest in future cable network activity, CBS has decided to buy a minority interest in new cable network AXS TV; its majority owner is Mark Cuban.

CBS has bought a minority ownership stake in new young-skewing entertainment news channel AXS TV in exchange for providing live event "shoulder" programming -- and rerun content of CBS' special TV awards shows: the Grammys, Tonys, Academy of Country Music Awards and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In July 2012, AXS was created as a joint venture of Mark Cuban companies, sports/entertainment event promoter and owner AEG, Creative Artists Agency and Ryan Seacrest Media. The network effectively replaced Cuban's HDNet. AXS has 38 million subscribers and is available in HD and standard-definition.

Cuban will continue to lead the network in his current role as president and chief executive officer of AXS TV.

Les Moonves, president/CEO of CBS Corp. stated: “This is an innovative way to use our tentpole programming to gain more ownership in the cable network business. AXS TV will now serve as a terrific complement to our existing broadcast television entertainment programming.”

Cuban added: “CBS brings the industry’s best and most respected resources and experience to AXS TV, which will accelerate our growth and realization of our vision that ‘The future of TV is TV.' "

Moonves has made no secret of his desire to own a general-entertainment cable network. In the past, media analysts have suggested CBS would do well owning Hallmark Channel. More recently, another analyst speculated that Sony Pictures Entertainment -- if for sale -- would be a good fit, providing CBS with a big movie studio operation.

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