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Sony Declined Lionsgate’s Invite for Merger Talks According to Hacked Emails

Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns wanted to ”toss around ideas“ about an acquisition or merger with the studio

New hacked emails from Sony indicate Lionsgate executives had floated the idea of a possible merger with Sony earlier this summer. According to a report from Bloomberg News, Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns reached out to Sony CEO Kazuo Hira requesting a meeting, but Hira decline the request for a sitdown.

“Given our entertainment business strategy, I don’t believe a meeting with me would be fruitful,” Hirai wrote. “However we are always interested in the possibility of smart collaboration between studios at the operational level.”

Burns also contacted Sony Corp. president Nicole Seligman, according to an email she sent to entertainment division CEO Michael Lynton. She wrote that Burns wanted to “toss around ideas about a possible merger or acquisition.”

Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb had been urging Sony to partially spin off its entertainment business and told Seligman that Lionsgate top brass wanted to meet with Hirai, according to the same hacked email from Seligman to Lynton. Lynton responded that it could be “very disruptive” if the “lionsgate stuff gets out.”

Representatives from Sony and Lionsgate have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Sony’s ongoing cyberattack has disclosed several documents so far, including internal conversations between key figures within the studio. As TheWrap previously reported, both Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Soctt Rudin publicly apologized for the content of leaked emails that included racially insensitive jokes about President Obama.

The studio’s upcoming movie, “The Interview,” starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, has been at the center of the controversy. On Tuesday, hackers threatened to carry out Sep. 11th-like attacks on theaters that screened the movie. ArcLight Cinemas and Carmike Theaters have both announced that they will not premiere the comedy about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.