Lionsgate, the movie studio famous for the “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” franchises, is buying cable TV network Starz for $ 4.4 billion.
Shares of both Lionsgate ( and )Starz ( surged more than 10% on the news. )
The media marriage isn’t a huge surprise.
Many on Wall Street and in Hollywood were expecting it ever since John Malone, the mogul who controls Liberty Media (, )Discovery Communications ( and numerous other media firms, bought a stake in Lionsgate last year. )
Malone also is a big investor in Starz. And through various other entities he owns stakes in Sirius XM (, concert promoter )Live Nation (, the )Atlanta Braves ( baseball team and )Time Warner (, the owner of CNN. )
The Lionsgate-Starz combination will immediately become a power player in the world of TV and movies. The two companies touted in the press release that the firm will have a library of 16,000 films and shows and tens of millions of cable subscribers.
“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 capitalize on content opportunities across multiple platforms,” said Starz chairman Greg Maffei in a statement.
Maffei is also the CEO of Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive, another Malone-controlled company that has stakes in home shopping channels HSN ( and )QVC ( as well as cable giant )Charter Communications (. )
Lionsgate and Starz said they expect the deal to close by the end of the year.