RLJ is a premium digital channels company, which serves audiences through OTT branded channels Acorn TV in the UK and the Urban Movie Channel (UMC).
Currently, AMC owns approximately 26% in shares of RLJ and Johnson, the founder of BET, owns 47%.
Through this offer, AMC Networks intends for RLJ to become a privately owned subsidiary of AMC Networks, with a minority stake held by Johnson.
In October 2016, AMC formed a strategic partnership, where it invested US$65 million in RLJ in the form of loans and it received warrants which, if fully exercised, would provide it with at least 50.1% of the outstanding RLJ stock. Last June, the company added US$10 million in these loans.
Furthermore, AMC has advised RLJ that it has no interest in disposing of its current stake in RLJ or participating in any other strategic process.
The company has requested RLJ’s board of directors to form a special committee of independent directors to consider the proposal with the assistance of an outside financial advisor and legal counsel to negotiate the proposal.
Johnson and directors of RLJ nominated by AMC will not participate in the evaluation of the proposal.
Acorn has been getting into original programming through shows such as Australian comedy Sando (pictured) through its UK-based development arm, Acorn Media Enterprises. It also owns 64% of Agatha Christie Ltd.
AMC is also a shareholder in comedy VOD service Funny or Die.