UGC acquires Reality TV owners, Zone Vision

The transaction amounted to $50 million in cash and $15 million in UGC stock

Chellomedia, the European subsidiary of UnitedGlobalCom, Inc (UGC) has acquired an 87.5 per cent interest in Zone Vision Networks from its current shareholders, including Advent International Corporation.

Apart from Reality TV, Zone Vision also owns two other channels, Europa Europa and Romantica, which are broadcast in over 125 countries in 18 languages, with over 135 million paying subscribers.

In addition, Zone Vision currently represents over 30 international channels from companies such as Discovery, Viacom, Turner, Hallmark and Eurosport, managing over 60 million subscribers.

Zone Vision is an innovative and fast growing programming company focusing on the ownership, management and distribution of pay television channels.

The transaction amounted to $50 million in cash and $15 million in UGC stock. The stock is subject to a five-year lock-in period. As part of the transaction, chellomedia will also contribute to Zone Vision the 49 per cent shareholding it already holds in Reality TV Ltd. and chellomedia’s Club channel business. Zonevision was represented by CEA International.

In a company communique, Mike Fries, president and chief executive officer of UGC, says, “This acquisition represents an unique opportunity to strengthen our programming activities in Europe. As we expand our rollout of digital video and broadband Internet services, the need to develop and control attractive content becomes increasingly more important. Chris Wronski and his team are creative, entrepreneurial and exactly the sort of talented managers of content and media services we need in our business.”

Chris Wronski, president and chairman, Zone Vision said: “Some time ago, we began a search to identify a partner that could help us move our business to the next level,"

"With the success of our Reality TV channels around the world, as well as the growth we've experienced with channels like Romantica and Europa Europa, we have sought to develop more targeted channels for the international digital cable and satellite market. chellomedia has been a fantastic partner throughout Europe, so it became apparent that they were the most suitable to provide us with the resources to achieve our goals. We are delighted to join forces with UGC and look forward to a prosperous future as Zone Vision Networks,” he added.

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