AMC Networks Spends $200 Million for 49.9 Percent Stake in BBC America

Longterm partnership deal unites companies behind “Mad Men” and “Doctor Who”

Don Draper, meet Doctor Who. You’ll be working together now.

AMC Networks Inc. is buying a 49.9 percent stake in BBC America for $200 million, the companies announced on Thursday.

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The deal is structured as a longterm equity joint venture, with BBC Worldwide maintaining the majority 50.1 percent stake. That said, AMC will have operational control of BBC America, including affiliate and advertising sales.

Also included in the partnership is representation of BBC World News in U.S. distribution and domestic ad sales.

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BBC America, which also counts “Orphan Black,” “Luther,” “Top Gear” and “Broadchurch” among its biggest shows, is available in nearly 80 million U.S. homes. The network will be managed as a standalone channel within the AMC Networks portfolio, which includes AMC, IFC, WE tv, and SundanceTV, as well as AMC Networks International, a collection of more than 60 channels distributed worldwide.

AMC and BBC have previously teamed up on drama series “Top of the Lake,” “The Honourable Woman” and the upcoming “One Child.” The two will continue to jointly pursue content investment opportunities on various future projects across both channels.

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“The BBC is one of the most recognized, trusted and respected brands in the world and we are proud to partner with it to create a content offering unmatched in the industry. I have great respect for what Herb Scannell and his team have achieved over the past four years, elevating BBC America’s profile, performance and productions,” said Josh Sapan, AMC Networks president and CEO.

“A combined AMC Networks-BBC America channel group creates 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.”

Tony Hall, BBC director-general and chairman of BBC Worldwide, added: “The U.S. is an important market for the BBC’s commercial activities. This partnership brings together the whole BBC and will help us reach new audiences in the U.S., strengthen BBC America’s position for the long term and create opportunities for the UK creative community.”

Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Worldwide and director, Global, said: “AMC Networks is the ideal partner for BBC Worldwide. Like us, they are committed to the kind of high-quality, unmissable content that has already gained BBC America one of the most educated, affluent and tech savvy audiences in all of U.S. television, with a powerful social media following. BBC America is a unique and upscale asset, with eight straight years of ratings growth behind it. By creating a stronger force with shared creative sensibilities, this partnership secures the continuation of that growth into the future.”