While Wall Street investors wait on a possible CBS-Viacom re-merger, CBS has made a move, gaining complete control of cable network Pop (the former TV Guide network) in buying out the Lions Gate Entertainment equity stake.
Terms weren’t disclosed. In confirming the deal, CBS says Pop will be integrated into CBS' cable network group with Brad Schwartz, president of Pop reporting to David Nevins, Chief Creative Officer, CBS Corp.
In 2013, CBS bought a 50% stake in TV Guide Channel for $100 million, with Lions Gate owning the other 50%. In 2015, the network was rebranded as Pop TV.
National TV advertising on Pop -- with programming coming from mostly comedy and drama reruns -- from March 2018 to March 2019 was $268.7 million, according to iSpot.tv. It was $230.8 million in the same period the year before.
Pop has about 70 million U.S. cable subscribers.
CBS stock was up 0.7% on the day to $49.43; Lions Gate Entertainment was up 0.4% to $15.83.
Joe Ianniello, acting CEO of CBS, declined to discuss the possibility of a re-merger with Viacom during an Tuesday event of the Deutsche Bank 2018 Media, Internet and Telecom Conference.
While there is a two-year ban on proposing a Viacom-CBS re-merger transaction from National Amusements Inc -- the majority equity owner of both CBS and Viacom, which controls 80% of each company -- a more immediate deal could come from proposal initiated by either Viacom or CBS.