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Cablevision considering spinoff of Rainbow Media Holdings, parent of AMC and IFC

November 18, 2010 | 12:12 pm


Maybe they'll tap Don Draper as CEO.

Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York-based cable operator that owns Rainbow Media Holdings, parent of several cable networks including AMC (home to "Mad Men"), said Thursday morning it is considering spinning off the unit to shareholders.

Besides AMC, Rainbow also owns IFC and Sundance, both of which focus primarily on indie films as well as original content, and WE, a lifestyle channel aimed at women. It also owns the WE spinoff channel Wedding Central.

Of all its holdings, AMC is the one on a tear. Besides "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," both of which have become critical hits, it recently premiered "The Walking Dead," a much more mainstream horror drama about zombies that is generating big ratings for the network and has already been ordered for a second season.

Analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG Research said in a report that if Cablevision follows through on the spinoff, there will be a lot of interest from investors. "We would expect numerous cable network entities to have interest in consolidating Rainbow," Greenfield wrote. He estimates that Rainbow could be worth about $2.5 billion in 2012.

Another analyst, David Joyce of Miller Tabak, said AMC was worth roughly $1.7 billion, while IFC and WE were each valued at just under $900 million, according to Broadcasting & Cable

Hopefully the Rainbow spinoff will go better than Sterling Cooper.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Jon Hamm as Don Draper on AMC's "Mad Men." Credit: Carin Baer/AMC.