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Lionsgate and Summit in merger talks

Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment have started talks about a potential merger. The independent Hollywood studios have previously discussed joining forces, but talks have broken down with the two sides unable to agree various financial and management issues.

Lionsgate has a market capitalisation of about US$1 billion and privately held Summit is worth an estimated US$250 million.

The companies have reportedly revisited merger talks, with discussions starting earlier this year.

Summit reportedly has other suitors and Lionsgate, meanwhile, has previously been linked to a tie-up with MGM.

Of the two, Lionsgate is the one with a foot in the TV, as well as movie, business.As well as producing features, it has a slate of TV product including Mad Men, Weeds and reality series Nail Files and Paris Hilton BFF. Its most recent TV launch is Boss, the Gus Van Sant-directed, Kelsey Grammer-fronted drama for US cable net Starz.

It also owns the TV Guide cable network, a share of cable net Epix, on-demand service FEARnet and a half share of Asian channel operator Tiger Gate.

Summit is focused on feature films and will release the final instalment of the successful Twilight series in 2012.