Cablevision announced that its programming unit agreed to buy the Sundance Channel, the network founded by actor Robert Redford, in a deal worth $496 million.

Rainbow Media, which will become 100 percent owner, will distribute payment in stock and cash worth $496 million to the three current owners of Sundance: General Electric Co's NBC Universal, CBS Corp's Showtime Networks and Redford controlled entities.

We are always looking for strategic opportunities for our business and Sundance Channel adds another valuable asset to Rainbow's award-winning lineup of programming networks, said Cablevision President and CEO James L. Dolan.

Sundance reaches about 30 million viewers in the U.S. Other U.S. channels held by Rainbow Media include AMC, IFC and WEtv.

The buyer, Rainbow Media, will give General Electric the 12.7 million GE shares it owns with a cash adjustment at closing based upon the value of the shares in relation to the total purchase price. CBS and Redford controlled entities will receive cash.

Shares of Cablevision Systems Corp rose 1.52 percent, or 36 cents to $24.04 in late afternoon trading on the New York stock exchange.