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Cablevision Renames ‘Mad Men’ Unit AMC; Sapan to Be Chief

Cablevision Systems Corp. said it will rename its Rainbow Media unit AMC Networks Inc. and appoint longtime executive Josh Sapan as chief executive officer as the business is spun off as a separate company.

AMC Networks will include television stations AMC, IFC, WE tv, and Sundance Channel, according to a statement today. The company will “likely” be based in New York, said Kimberly Kearns, a Cablevision spokeswoman.

The transaction, a tax-free spinoff, is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter. No date has been set for its public listing.

Cablevision first announced it was exploring a spinoff in November, allowing Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan to focus on the company’s cable operations. Rainbow generated $298.5 million in revenue for Cablevision last quarter, up 14 percent from a year earlier.

Sapan joined Rainbow Media in 1987 as president of AMC and Bravo. He “is the ideal executive to provide the leadership necessary as a new AMC Networks becomes a public company,” said Dolan in the statement. Sapan has been CEO of Rainbow since 1995.

Rainbow’s fourth-quarter advertising revenue grew 21 percent as Emmy-award winning “Mad Men,” a drama about a New York advertising firm set in the 1960s, and “Breaking Bad,” about a teacher who sells methamphetamines, boosted AMC’s national appeal.

In 1997, Sapan created IFC Entertainment, an independent film division, which has released past Oscar-nominated films “In The Loop” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” IFC Entertainment will remain part of AMC Networks Inc., as will AMC/Sundance Global, the company’s international programming business, and distribution company AMC Network Communications.

Cablevision fell 41 cents to $35.21 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has gained 4 percent this year.

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