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MGM in Talks to Acquire Epix Premium Cable Network (Report)

The mini-major studio currently owns about 19 percent of Epix

MGM is in talks to acquire all of premium cable network Epix from the premium cable network’s other owners, Viacom and Lionsgate, Reuters reported Thursday.

Viacom currently owns 50 percent of Epix, the newest of the major premium TV channels which launched in 2009.

Lionsgate has a nearly 32 percent stake, while MGM has the remaining piece. MGM’s deal to buy out its partners would value Epix at between $1 billion and $2 billion, according to the Reuters report.

MGM declined to comment.

Epix, which also includes a streaming service, has about 8.8 million subscribers, according to TV research firm SNL Kagan.

Lionsgate had been thought to be considering shedding its stake in Epix after it acquired paid $4.4 billion last year for competing premium TV network Starz, which counted 24.3 million subscribers as of Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, Viacom has been looking to sell non-core assets, as new CEO Bob Bakish said at the Deutsche Bank 2017 Media & Telecom Conference this week.

On Wednesday, MGM reported full-year earnings results for 2016, posting a profit 3 percent higher than the guidance the company gave last fall.

While revenue was down 24 percent from 2015 due to the lack of a James Bond movie and “Ben-Hur” bombing at the box office last summer, MGM’s TV revenue jumped 48 percent year-over-year.

The company’s adjusted EBITDA — a profit measure that backs out non-operational expenses like interest and taxes — soared 125 percent.