Sony Pictures Entertainment Obtains AT&T’s Stake in Game Show Network

With the move, Sony now has full control over GSN and its associated properties.

In a move that promises to deliver great advancements in the worlds of television, mobile, and online gaming, Sony Pictures Entertainment has bought out AT&T’s minority stake in the Game Show Network (GSN). The network is a popular daytime choice with its lineup of game shows airing all day long, in addition to its growing presence in the gaming world. Sony paid $380 million in equity to AT&T during the purchase, as well as provided $130 million in dividend payments. With the move, Sony now has full control over GSN and its associated properties.

No Changes Expected for Network Operations

If you’re a fan of the content GSN is already airing and worry about what the sale will mean for the shows you love, you have no reason to fret. Current GSN president and CEO Mark Feldman will remain in charge of the network. 

“The acquisition allows us to work more closely with the company’s talented team to deliver the best iconic game shows,” said Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins in a public statement following the acquisition. The sale will also allow Sony to “develop and syndicate new game show IP for audiences across the nation.”

Sony Focuses on Expanded Role of Mobile and Casino Gaming

Image via Flickr by GoodNCrazy

Although GSN is known for its television programming that offers the ability for viewers to find a game show when they want to watch one, the network has also begun making strong inroads into digital gaming. In fact, the network has many highly successful mobile gaming apps. Digital games made available by GSN include both digital versions of popular syndicated shows as well as GSN original game shows. Many of the popular game shows also have licensing deals in place for use in digital casino games, the likes of which we see often online, such as virtual slot machines with game show themes. But we’re digressing slightly here.

With the sale of AT&T’s minority stake to the majority stakeholder, GSN is now positioned to move forward in innovative ways in all of the various forms of media in which the network controls properties. Whether it’s bringing new original game shows to market or finding new opportunities to convert television game shows into fun and exciting mobile apps, the future looks bright for GSN. Sony hopes that a singular focus moving forward will help the network to reach new heights and deliver the high-quality game show content that fans around the country have come to expect.

Full Ownership Simplifies Direction

Before the sale, Sony held a 58% ownership stake in the network, with AT&T possessing the remaining 42%. By buying out its minority partner, Sony assumes full control, allowing for a simpler approach to the creative process at the network in both its broadcast and digital gaming spheres.

Sale Assists AT&T With Debt Payment Strategy

By repositioning its stake in the company, AT&T is continuing in a process of making sales to pay off high debts assumed from the acquisition of DIRECTV and Time Warner. Following the purchases, AT&T’s debts had risen to $180 billion. With the latest sale, which was made possible by inheriting ownership in GSN as part of the DIRECTV purchase, the debt is now estimated at $154 billion

Although significant progress has been made, the company has a long way to go. Additional sales may be coming for AT&T properties.