AMC Networks in talks to buy Starz: Report

16 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AMC Networks Said in Talks to Acquire John Malone’s Starz.

AMC Networks Inc., the cable community operator that owns exhibits together with “The Strolling Lifeless,” is again in talks to accumulate billionaire John Malone’s Starz, one other TV programmer, in accordance with individuals conversant in the matter. The preliminary discussions won’t end in an acquisition, stated the individuals, who requested to not be named as a result of the knowledge is personal.

Bloomberg reported the preliminary talks, which come after a few abortive attempts by suitors to acquire Starz in the past year. “They probably ultimately need to combine with others at least from a bundler point of view, if not from an ownership point of view,” John Malone — Starz’s top individual investor — said last week. Starz has a market cap of $3.9B and an enterprise value that’s grown to more than $5B from $4B last year, during a period when it was often linked to Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF). Starz, which owns the Starz and Encore premium film channels, could not come to phrases final yr with potential consumers, together with New York-based AMC Networks, due to variations over valuation, individuals with information of the matter stated final December. Starz said in a statement: “As per company policy, we do not comment on rumors or speculation.” But acquisition talk has surrounded Starz for the past few years, ever since it was spunoff from Liberty Media as a stand-alone public entity in late 2012. A combined AMC Networks and Starz would gain leverage in negotiating fees from pay-TV carriers, which have already paired off to lower costs as customers defect to online players like Netflix Inc.

Liberty chairman John Malone retains a sizable stake in Starz — a personal holding of Malone’s, separate from Liberty — and he has fueled Starz acquisition rumors with his recent moves. AMC Networks has lengthy been seen as a possible acquisition goal for media corporations due to its restricted scale, proudly owning the AMC channel, IFC, SundanceTV, WE TV and half of America.

A deal for Starz would give the corporate added clout in negotiations with pay-TV suppliers, lots of that are experimenting with skinny bundles that exclude much less well-liked channels. Malone told Bloomberg last week that he saw Starz as a “terrific, synergistic fit” with Lionsgate, although he emphasized that the ultimate decision would rest with the boards of both companies. Both AMC and Starz invest heavily in original series production and movie licensing pacts, so there’s a case to be made for the two coming together. And Starz has been on a roll of late with original series such as “Outlander,” “Power” and comedy “Blunt Talk” generating some pop culture traction for the flagship channel.

AMC Networks’ $5.3 billion market valuation has been aided by a run of hit programs, both with audiences and with critics. “Fear The Walking Dead,” a spinoff of its hit “The Walking Dead,” drew the largest-ever audience for a new cable series with 10.1 million viewers last month.

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