Colorado billionaire watch: John Malone could finally unite Starz and Lionsgate

Englewood-based Starz and California-based Lionsgate could official unite next month in the $4.4 billion deal announced this summer.

"Un Padre No Tan Padre", a film set to be released in 2017 by Pantelion Films and Lionsgate. (Courtesy of Lions Gate)
"Un Padre No Tan Padre", a film set to be released in 2017 by Pantelion Films and Lionsgate. (Courtesy of Lions Gate)
“Un Padre No Tan Padre,” a film set to be released in 2017 by Pantelion Films and Lionsgate. (Courtesy of Lions Gate)

Englewood-based Starz and California-based Lionsgate could officially unite next month in a $4.4 billion deal that was announced this summer.

Colorado billionaire John Malone owns big stakes in both media companies and could benefit if shareholders vote to approve the deal. The boards of both companies already gave the greenlight for the merger earlier this year.

Lionsgate and Starz each will hold special meetings with their investors Dec. 7, according to financial documents filed Monday.

Lionsgate is the distributor of “The Hunger Games” and producer of “Mad Men.” Starz has more than 24 million subscribers and produces television classics like “Outlander” and “Power.”

Together, the two companies would have a 16,000-title film and television library, the largest independent television business in the world and a feature film business that has generated over $7 billion at the global box office over the past four years, according to the filings.

In 2013, Starz was spun off of Liberty Media Corp. Malone is chairman of the Englewood-based media company. Analysts believe the goal of the spin-off was to ultimately find Starz a home with a new parent company.

Lionsgate’s acquisition of Starz is expected to save the companies $50 million annually in operating costs and an average of $150 million annually in taxes through fiscal 2021, financial filings show.

The deal is also anticipated to boost Lionsgate’s content creation capabilities; enhance its leadership in premium, scripted programming; and expand its global distribution footprint across mobile, broadband, cable and satellite platforms.

Earlier this month, Lionsgate reported that it started the first six months of the year with a net loss of $16 million — up from a $1 million net loss during the same time in 2015. Starz was also seeing year over year declines.  In late October, the company reported a net income of $155.7 million for the first nine months of 2016 — down 25 percent from the same time in 2015.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia covers business and trends for Denverite. He's covered business for The Fort Collins Coloradoan and serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.