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Hubbard, Weinsteins Buy Ovation

Hubbard Media Group and a cadre of investors that include indie-film impresarios Harvey and Bob Weinstein acquired Ovation: The Arts Network, officials said Tuesday. The announcement didn’t include Ovation’s purchase price.

Ken Solomon will also join Ovation, an independent cable network, as chairman, as well as retaining his duties as chairman and CEO of The Tennis Channel. Ovation’s new owners not only include Hubbard, which also owns ReelzChannel, set to debut Sept. 27; but also The Weinstein Co., which was created and is run by the Weinstein brothers, the founders of Miramax Film Corp.; as well as Corporate Partners II, a fund of Lazard Alternative Investments; Perry Capital; and Arcadia Investment Partners. Lazard acted as the sole financial advisor on the transaction.

The acquisition of Ovation will mark the Weinstein brothers’ first foray in cable.

The new management team that will oversee the re-launch of the network includes not only Solomon but Charles Segars, a Fine Living Network veteran, as CEO; current Ovation COO Ron Garfield will remain in that post; and Chad Gutstein, a Tennis Channel veteran, is EVP.

Ovation, which launched in October 1996, has a programming mix that features performance and documentary-style programming on the full range of the arts - theater, dance, opera, jazz, classical music, literature and the visual arts.

Ovation counts more than 5 million households and maintains carriage in New York City, Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and Orlando. Ovation already has master distribution agreements in place with many major cable operators.