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Lionsgate buys Starz for $4.4bn

Lionsgate, Hollywood’s largest independent studio, has confirmed plans to acquire media and entertainment giant Starz in a cash and stock deal valued at $4.4 billion (€3.9bn).

“The combination of Lionsgate and Starz brings significant scale to our portfolio of content and distribution assets and will enable us to compete successfully in today’s rapidly evolving global entertainment marketplace,” said Dr. Mark H. Rachesky , Lionsgate’s Chairman of the Board. “By bringing together complementary resources, premium quality intellectual property and exceptional management, this strategic transaction positions us extremely well to unlock the underlying value of our content to create substantial lasting value for our shareholders.”

“This transaction unites two companies with strong brands, complementary assets and leading positions within our industry,” said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns . “We expect the acquisition to be highly accretive, generate significant synergies and create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Chris Albrecht and his team have built a world-class platform and programming leader, and we’re proud to marshal our resources in a deal that accelerates our growth and diversification, generates exciting new strategic content opportunities and creates significant value for our shareholders.”

Greg Maffei , Chairman of Starz, said: ” Chris Albrecht and his team have grown Starz into an industry leader that provides highly-rated and diverse content, drawing critical claim and brand recognition for Starz. Together, Lionsgate and Starz form an entertainment powerhouse with a world-renowned studio that produces blockbuster movies and channels with must-have programming that will be able to capitalise on content opportunities across multiple platforms.  The combined company will be well-positioned to return more value to our shareholders and effectively compete in the global media marketplace.”

“Jon, Michael and the rest of the Lionsgate team have built the first major new Hollywood studio in decades, and we’re thrilled to join with them in a transaction that multiplies the strengths of our respective businesses,” said Starz Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht . “Our similar entrepreneurial cultures and shared vision of the future will make this alliance an incredible fit that creates tremendous value for our shareholders, great content for our audiences and limitless opportunities for our newly-combined company. I am very appreciative of the work, passion and dedication of both of our companies’ employees and more enthusiastic than ever about the future of our business.”

The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of Lionsgate and Starz and will be submitted to their respective shareholders for approval as well as to regulatory authorities. The proposed creation of Lionsgate non-voting stock is also subject to shareholder approval. Closing is expected to occur by year-end.

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