MGM buys 20% slice of Rainbow Networks
Probably getting the best of both worlds, Cablevision Systems Corp. Chairman Chuck Dolan yanked his Rainbow Programming entertainment networks off the auction block but sold a 20% stake to cable-hungry studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $825 million. Despite getting bids of about $4 billion from Viacom's Sumner Redstone and USA Networks' Barry Diller, Dolan was unhappy and pulled the properties away. The deal with MGM lets Rainbow completely pay off its debt as Dolan preps the properties and some of his sports holdings for a tracking-stock spin-off. And MGM gets no control despite valuing the entire operation at a fat $4.1 billion, 25 to 26 times annual cash flow. "It's a wonderful economic deal," said Rainbow President Josh Sapan.