US cable group AMC Networks has acquired Chellomedia, the European content arm of Liberty Global, for $1 billion.
The company, which operates AMC, the broadcaster behind Mad Men and Breaking Bad, IFC, Sundance Channel and WEtv, is to use the acquisition to expand its international footprint.
AMC is thought to have beaten out a number of international media companies including Turner and Scripps Networks Interactive for the deal.
The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014 and includes Chello Zone, Chello Central Europe, Chello Latin America, ad sales unit Atmedia and broadcast solutions unit Chello DMC.
Chello operates a network of almost 40 channels including the Horror Channel, Extreme Sports and kids network Jim Jam.
Liberty Global will retain its premium channels in Holland including Film1 and Sport1, but the deal will see AMC acquire the Chellomedia’s stakes in the joint venture channels that it operated with Hollywood studio CBS and A+E Networks.
“Chellomedia has developed a remarkable portfolio of popular channels that reach hundreds of millions around the world. As AMC Networks has expanded internationally, we have had a great desire to do something we consider fundamentally strategic, which is to take our content and put it on channels we own.
This acquisition allows us to secure a large, global platform on which to distribute our increasingly successful original programming through a collection of strong, well-established and well-managed assets worldwide,” said Josh Sapan, president and chief executive of AMC Networks.
“Together, we can grow these assets and make them even more popular and valuable around the world,” he added.
Chellomedia president Niall Curran added: “AMC Networks are content professionals with an excellent creative and business track record. They are highly enthusiastic about the business we have built at Chellomedia and are ambitious to develop it further, making AMC Networks a great owner and partner for Chello’s next phase of growth.”