Lionsgate Shares Up on Deal Talk

Stock Rises 7% on possible interest from Amazon, Viacom, CBS, Verizon
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Lionsgate Entertainment shares soared Thursday after a Deadline Hollywood report said the studio is attracting interest from several possible suitors, including Amazon, Viacom, CBS, and Verizon Communications.

Lionsgate Shares closed at $34.50 on Thursday, up $2.22 each or 7%.

According to Deadline, several potential suitors are “sniffing around” Lionsgate, although no offers have been made yet. Lionsgate is the producer of blockbuster films like The Hunger Games series as well as smaller films like Wonder. The studio also has had big successes on the TV side as the home of hit series like Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and Dear White People.

Lionsgate purchased premium channel Starz in 2016 for $4.4 billion, a deal that also made cable legend John Malone a major shareholder, which has also added to the speculation that a transaction could be in the works.

Amazon is expected by many to at least be looking to boost its content holdings, although some analysts believe it will focus on live sports, like Thursday Night Football.

According to Deadline, Viacom and CBS – which are also reportedly investigating the possibility of merging – could be interested as well as Verizon. Verizon has been a popular name in deal speculation recently – it has been named as a possible suitor of Charter Communications and others – and could be looking to Lionsgate to boost its content holdings as it readies its own OTT offering sometime this spring.    

Speculation has been high that a flood of content deals could occur in the wake of The Walt Disney Co.’s agreement to purchase certain assets of 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion. That deal is expected to close later this year. 

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