Lionsgate is buying premium-cable network Starz for $4.4 billion.
According to a release from Lionsgate, the deal was made with a combination of cash and stocks, which values Starz at $32.73 per share to shareholders. That’s 18% over the 20-day average trading price for Starz as of June 28.
Starz will now present the offer to its shareholders for approval, with the deal estimated to be completed by year’s end.
“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,” Lionsgate Chairman of the Board Dr.Mark H. Rachesky said in a statement. “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.”
The two companies have been flirting with each other off-and-on for the past year, with talks becoming more serious over the past few months.
Lionsgate is behind the “Hunger Games” movie franchise, but has also produced a number of television shows, including Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” AMC’s “Mad Men,” and “Casual” on Hulu. Owning a television network would give Lionsgate a natural home for its programming.
Starz, long known for showing movies, has had a number of recent breakout original series, including “Outlander” and “The Girlfriend Experience.” In fact, Lionsgate will get the premium cable network a year after its number of subscribers surpassed Showtime and made it the No. 2 premium cable service after HBO.
Paul Schrodt contributed to this article.