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Lionsgate confirms Starz merger talks

Scripted-logo-460_2Lionsgate Entertainment has confirmed it will explore a “potentially mutually beneficial combination” with premium cable group Starz.

JohnMalone2News broke this week that indie studio Lionsgate had entered into early stage discussions with Starz for the second time over a potential merger.

John Malone is the controlling shareholder of Starz, which spun out out of Malone’s Liberty Media in 2013, and owns shares in Lionsgate after a series of recent transactions.

Lionsgate confirmed in a regulatory filing that it would explore whether a combined company would benefit both companies, but warned that “any such combination should recognise the relative valies of both companies and that the benefits of a transaction should be shared appropriately by both companies’ shareholders”.

The firm added that there was no guarantee of a merger, which would combine the Starz and Epix cable networks with Lionsgate’s local and international film and TV production and distribution network.

Lionsgate reportedly came close to acquiring Starz in December 2014, but ultimately decided against the move at the time.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht predicted further industry consolidation in an interview with TBI in the last quarter of last year, though he declined to comment directly on a Lionsgate partnership.