Group channels funds to buy TV Guide Net, site

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Macrovision Solutions has sold the TV Guide Network and its Web site to an investment group that includes former Dick Clark Prods. CEO Allen Shapiro for $255 million.

The purchase price can fluctuate based on factors like a $45 million earn-out provision through 2012. Shapiro and his ally in the deal, One Equity Partners, said the transaction should close by April 1.

Macrovision, a company best known for its anti-piracy technology, has been selling off pieces of Gemstar-TV Guide since acquiring it a year ago for $2.8 billion. In October, it sold the print publication to OpenGate Capital for a mere $1.

The asset most coveted by Macrovision when it purchased Gemstar-TV Guide was the company's widely used interactive programming guide, though insiders expressed surprise Thursday that Macrovision will part with TVGuide.com, which attracts 15 million unique visitors a month.

Shapiro has a track record of buying and selling media assets for substantial profit, most recently as president of Mosaic Media Group.

Among his deals, he facilitated the leveraged buyout of Dick Clark Prods. in 2004 and served as its CEO until selling it in 2007.

TV Guide Network is known for its split-screen programming of unscripted TV shows while a scroll lists what's on elsewhere on the dial.

One Equity Partners manages $8 billion of investments and commitments for JPMorgan Chase in direct private-equity transactions. Managing director Greg O'Hara said the TV Guide Network acquisition "will serve as a platform for other acquisitions across the entertainment and digital landscape." (partialdiff)
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