Bloomberg

MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the James Bond film franchise, is in discussions to acquire control of premium movie channel Epix for more than $1 billion, people familiar with the situation said.

Beverly Hills, California-based MGM would be buying out the other two stakeholders in the company -- Viacom Inc. (Nasdaq: VIAB) and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF) -- and a deal could be announced as soon as next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The deal would boost MGM’s burgeoning TV business by adding the premium cable network. The company is investing more in content, it said in its full-year earnings report this week. A transaction would end speculation about the future of Epix after Lions Gate’s acquisition of premium programmer Starz.

Reuters reported the talks earlier.

MGM has a 19 percent stake in Epix, according to regulatory filings. Lions Gate held a 31 percent stake and Viacom owned the balance.

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