Lionsgate leaps in value after CBS Starz bid
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Joseph O'Halloran
| 19 May 2019

The US media mega M&A frenzy shows no sign of abating and the latest example comes in the form of a spike in the stock of Lionsgate after details have emerged of a potential bid from broadcaster CBS for its Starz content division.

The Reuters news agency reported that Lionsgate offered to sell Starz —the home to home to the flagship domestic STARZ brand, STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay-TV channels and associated on-demand and online services including the STARZ app — to CBS in a deal valued at $5.5 billion. In fact, Reuters revealed that Lionsgate had already rebuffed other lower bids. The stock has risen7% over the last two days. Lionsgate bought Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock in 2016.

The news of the bid comes just as announced that it had secured international distribution rights for A24's new comedy series Ramy. The series tells the story of a 20-something, first generation Egyptian-American on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighbourhood. The show brings a new perspective to the screen as it explores the challenges of what it's like being caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that thinks life has no consequences. It stars its writer Ramy Youssef, alongside Amr Waked, Hiam Abbass and May Calamawy.

Lionsgate showcased Ramy to international buyers as part of its LA Screenings presentation on 19 May 2018. Commenting on the programme, Lionsgate's president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer said: “When I watched Ramy for the first time, I knew this is a show that has the potential to break through because I couldn't stop watching. I have the utmost respect for our partners at A24 and am thrilled to expand our longstanding distribution partnership by bringing Ramy to audiences around the world.”