Lionsgate, Starz Shareholders Approve Merger

Companies agreed on $4.4 billion cash and stock deal in June

Lionsgate's "Divergent," Starz "Outlander" (Lionsgate/Starz)

“The Hunger Games” studio Lionsgate has closed its $4.4 billion deal to acquire pay-TV network Starz, after the two companies’ shareholders approved the merger in a near-unanimous vote, Lionsgate announced in a Thursday statement.

Under the terms of the deal, each share of Lionsgate common stock (LGF) will be reclassified into half voting and half newly created non-voting shares. Holders of Starz Series A common stock (STRZA) will also receive $18 in cash per share, as well as 0.6784 of a share of Lionsgate non-voting stock. Essentially, that offer adds up to a total value of $32.73 per share, an 18 percent premium for STRZA shareholders.

Holders of Starz Series B common stock (STRZB) will get $7.26 in cash, 0.6321 of a share of Lionsgate voting stock and 0.6321 of a share of Lionsgate non-voting stock.

“After planning the integration of Lionsgate and Starz for the past five months, we are more excited than ever at the value created by the combination of our two great companies,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns said in the statement. “Chris and his team have built Starz into a strong brand, a world-class distribution platform and a premium programming leader, and we’re delighted to welcome them to the Lionsgate family.  Working together, we believe that the strategic opportunities are enormous, and we’re pleased that our shareholders recognize the transformative potential of the transaction.”

“Lionsgate and Starz have a shared vision – to make incredible content for audiences across the world and capitalize on technology and innovation to distribute that content across multiple platforms and devices,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in the statement. “There is no better time to be in this business and no better company to be a part of.  I am thrilled to join Jon, Michael and the rest of the Lionsgate team in growing our combined company into a global content powerhouse.”

According to a June joint statement, the combined company will include: a 16,000-title film and television library; the largest independent television business in the world, including 87 original series on 42 U.S. networks; a feature film business that has generated over $7 billion at the global box office over the past four years; operation of or investment in 30 channel platforms around the world, including the flagship Starz platform reaching 24 million U.S. subscribers, the Starz Encore network with over 32 million subscribers and five OTT services; and a growing presence in location-based entertainment and video games, driven by the company’s deep portfolio of brands and franchises.