Content Partners buys 50 pct. stake in 'CSI'

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 9:07 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Entertainment finance firm Content Partners has purchased a 50 percent stake in the "CSI" television franchise from a Goldman Sachs affiliate.

Terms were not disclosed.

This is Content Partners' largest buyout to date and expands on its catalog of entertainment properties, which includes interests in 119 movies and five TV series.

Content Partners LLC said Thursday that the deal makes it an equal stakeholder with CBS Corp., which owns the other 50 percent interest.

"The commitment that CBS has made to the CSI franchise in continuing to aggressively distribute and leverage the property across all media made this an extremely attractive opportunity for our firm," Content Partners President and CEO Steven Kram said in a statement.

Content Partners and CBS will each own half the rights of the franchise, which include the television series "CSI," ''CSI: New York" and "CSI Miami." CBS will control all domestic and international distribution rights to the series.

The "CSI" franchise has consistently been among the top-rated shows on television since it debuted in 2000. It airs in more than 200 countries and its library includes 724 one-hour episodes. The franchise has received numerous awards, including eight Primetime Emmys, five People's Choice Awards, and one Screen Actors Guild award.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan provided financing for the transaction, while LionTree Advisors acted as financial adviser. Content Partners said that Co-Chairman Paul Wachter was also instrumental in finalizing the deal.

Shares of CBS added 31 cents to $45 in morning trading Thursday. Its shares are near the high end of their 52-week range of $29.10 to $45.87.

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