Lionsgate to buy cable channel Starz in $4.4B deal

Associated Press

New York — Film and TV studio Lionsgate is buying cable channel operator Starz in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

Lionsgate is the company behind “The Hunger Games” movies and the “Orange Is The New Black” TV series. Englewood, Colorado-based Starz runs its namesake cable channel, as well as Starz Encore and MoviePlex. Together, Lionsgate said it can tap its library of movies and TV shows and air them through Starz’s channels.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Lionsgate said Thursday that it will pay holders of Starz Series A stock $18 in cash and 0.6784 of a Lionsgate share. Starz Series B stockholders will receive $7.26 in cash and 1.2642 of Lionsgate stock.

Santa Monica, California-based Lionsgate is not new to the cable business, owning stakes in the Epix and Pop channels. Starz, besides its channels, also owns Anchor Bay Entertainment, which distributes movies on DVDs.

Shares of Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. rose $1.84, or 8.8 percent to $22.78 in morning trading while Starz’s Series A stock jumped 3.56, or 12.6 percent, to $31.81.