• Lionsgate and Starz in merger talks – press

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    LOS ANGELES: Movie and television studio Lionsgate is reportedly in advanced talks to merge with the movie channel Starz, a deal that would further cement the studio’s standing as a major Hollywood player.

    The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources, said on Monday that high-level talks between the two companies have been ongoing for months.

    But it added that a deal may not materialize and that other scenarios were under consideration, including a variety of partnerships.

    “One of the factors complicating the dealmaking is the valuations of the two companies,” the Times said.

    “Wall Street places Lionsgate’s worth at $5.7 billion, while Starz has a valuation of $4 billion.”

    A Lionsgate spokesperson reached by AFP declined to comment on the possible deal. Starz officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

    A merger would mark another step in Lionsgate’s evolution from being a lightweight entertainment company to a major industry player.

    The company, based in Santa Monica, California, has made a number of shrewd acquisitions over the years, including the rights to the blockbuster “Hunger Games” film series.

    The premium pay-TV network Starz is owned by billionaire John Malone. A merger with Lionsgate would open up wide programming possibilities for the company.

    Starz stocks went up 10 percent to $43 in Monday’s after-hours session while Lionsgate shares went up nearly eight percent to $42.19.

    AFP

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