Walking Dead and Mad Man broadcaster AMC Networks buys 49.9 pc of BBC America

Catherine Neilan
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Mad Men: Not such a crazy deal for AMC and BBC

The broadcaster behind The Walking Dead and Mad Men has acquired a 49.9 per cent stake in BBC America.

AMC Networks has acquired the stake in BBC Worldwide's US channel – which broadcasts BBC series including Doctor Who, Planet Earth, Top Gear and Luther in the US - for $200m.
BBC Worldwide and AMC said the deal – which is structured as a long-term joint venture - had brought about “a new long-term creative partnership”.
AMC Networks will have operational control of BBC America, including affiliate and advertising sales, and will run it alongside the BBC's editorial standards and policies.
The channel's financials will be consolidated on the US group's results.
It will be run as a standalone channel alongside AMC's others, which include acclaimed documentary channel Sundance TV, We TV, IFC and AMC itself.
The BBC's director general and chairman of BBC Worldwide Tony Hall said the move would “help us reach new audiences in the US, strengthen BBC America’s position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community”.
He added: “We’ve already worked successfully with AMC Networks on award-winning productions of Top of the Lake and The Honourable Woman and this partnership means we can produce even more top quality drama together. I hope this is the beginning of us working together on other future projects too.”
Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president and chief executive, said the deal created “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,” he added.
BBC Worldwide North America will continue as a wholly owned regional business within BBC Worldwide.
Recent deals include US cable company Liberty Group taking a 6.4 per cent stake in ITV. Back in May, it also joined up with Discovery Communications to acquire mega-indie All3Media for £550m, in a 50-50 joint venture. Last year the same corporation struck a $16bn (£10.2bn) deal to buy UK cable and broadband business Virgin Media.
Meanwhile Viacom, owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, bought Channel 5 in a £450m deal.

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