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Lionsgate, Starz Close $4.4 Billion Acquisition

Variety logo Variety 12/8/2016 Oriana Schwindt
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Lionsgate has completed its acquisition of Starz for approximately $4.4 billion in cash and stock. The merger had been announced at the end of June, after a lengthy courtship period and the helping hand of investor John Malone, the majority shareholder in Starz who also acquired a stake in Lionsgate in 2015. Starz will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate. Chris Albrecht will continue to serve as president and CEO of Starz, reporting to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, and will also join Lionsgate’s executive management committee.

The acquisition was approved by 98% of the votes cast by Lionsgate shareholders and 95% of the votes cast by Starz shareholders, in person or represented by proxy, not including abstentions, at the companies’ respective shareholder meetings on Dec. 7. All necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained and all conditions to the closing have been satisfied.

Holders of Starz Series A common stock are receiving $18.00 in cash as well as 0.6784 shares of Lionsgate Class B non-voting stock. Holders of Starz Series B common stock are receiving $7.26 in cash, 0.6321 shares of Lionsgate Class A voting stock, and 0.6321 shares of Lionsgate Class B non-voting stock. Previously existing Lionsgate common shares and Starz common shares will no longer be listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ, respectively, effective Dec. 9.

“After planning the integration of Lionsgate and Starz for the past five months, we are more excited than ever at the value created by the combination of our two great companies,” said Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. “Chris and his team have built Starz into a strong brand, a world-class distribution platform and a premium programming leader, and we’re delighted to welcome them to the Lionsgate family.”

Premium cabler Starz, the home of “Outlander” and the forthcoming Bryan Fuller series “American Gods,” currently has around 25 million subscribers — 31 million, if you factor in Starz-owned premium pay channels like Encore. In addition to producing shows like “Orange Is the New Black,” Lionsgate has a library of 16,000 movies and shows. On the film side, Lionsgate produced “The Hunger Games,” “John Wick,” and current awards circle favorite “La La Land.”

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