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Lionsgate finalises Starz acquisition


Starz’s time-travel drama Outlander

US studio Lionsgate has completed its acquisition of cable broadcaster Starz for cash and stock totalling US$4.4bn.

The deal was announced at the end of June, when Mad Men studio Lionsgate said the acquisition created “a global content powerhouse positioned to capitalise on growth opportunities worldwide.”

The takeover has now been completed following approval by shareholders and Starz will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate.

Starz, known for series including Outlander, Black Sails and American Gods, was controlled by Liberty Media’s John Malone, who is also a Lionsgate investor and sits on its board.

The agreement includes Starz’s 17 premium pay TV channels and associated on-demand and online services under Starz Networks, as well as its global content distribution arm Starz Distribution. It also leaves Lionsgate with a 16,000-title film and TV library.

Chris Albrecht will continue as president and CEO of Starz, reporting to Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, and will also join Lionsgate’s executive management committee.

“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 in a statement.

“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.”

Lionsgate has been steadily building up its business over the past five years, notably with the 2012 US$412.5m acquisition of Summit Entertainment, last year’s US$200m stake in Pilgrim Studios and, more recently, a joint venture with New Regency, the US studio behind hit movies The Revenant and Gone Girl.

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