Lionsgate Close to $700M Deal to Buy Summit

Summit Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger would oversee film operations

Last Updated: January 8, 2012 @ 9:38 AM

Lionsgate is on the verge of acquiring Summit, TheWrap has confirmed. 

Purchasing the studio behind the mega-grossing "Twilight" franchise will cost Lionsgate roughly $700 million, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations. 

That figure will stack up to roughly $400 million in cash, with the rest amounting to the assumption of Summit's debt. 

To grab rights to the indie studio, Lionsgate appears poised to beat out Colony Capital, which has also been circling Summit. 

The two companies are talking exclusively, but no formal agreement to merge is in place. Indeed, a sale is not expected to be finalized before the middle of next week. 

If a deal does take place, Summit Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger would remain onboard, with Friedman overseeing domestic operations for the merged companies' film operations and Wachsberger handling the international end. 

A spokesman for Summit declined to comment, and a spokesman for Lionsgate did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The studios have been in talks before. In the past negotiations that have broken down over price and control issues.

Selling now would allow Summit's backers, a group that includes Rizvi Traverse Management and Participant Media, to cash out on their investment. 

Last year, however, they did receive a substantial dividend as part of a $750 million refinancing. 

The move comes as Summit is readying the final film in its vampire romance franchise, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2" and as Lionsgate is putting the finishing touches on the movie it hopes will launch its own in-house series of teen film hits, "The Hunger Games." 

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