Lions Gate shares soar on report that CBS wants to buy Starz for about $5 billion – CNBC

Roxane Mesquida, Avan Jogia and Kelli Berglund attend American Gods & Now Apocalypse Live Viewing Party At #TwitterHouse at Lustre Pearl on March 10, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

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Shares of Lions Gate rose as much as 15% on Friday after a report said CBS had made an informal offer to buy Starz.

Shortly after the news appeared in the technology publication The Information shares spiked, and were briefly halted due to volatility. More recently the stock was trading up 13%.

Interim CEO of CBS Joseph Ianniello reportedly made an offer of around $5 billion during the last few weeks to the executives of Lions Gate, the report said. Lions Gate execs reportedly rejected the offer, seeking a higher valuation.

Lions Gate notably bought Starz for $4.4 billion in late 2016. 

Representatives for Lions Gate declined to comment.

Buying Starz would add high profile shows like  “Power,” “American Gods” and “Outlander” to CBS’s entertainment library as well as provide the company with greater access to international content viewers. 

This move comes as the entertainment industry as a whole has been consolidating. Disney recently closed its deal to acquire assets from Fox and is set to launch its own streaming service in November with shows and films from Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar.

Additionally, Comcast and Warner Bros. are poised to create their own direct to consumer services to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime

As part of its effort to bolster its content, CBS is also considering purchasing Viacom, the report said. CBS held talks with Viacom — which owns channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central — twice before, but no deal was reached.

— CNBC’s Julia Boorstin contributed to this story.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of CNBC.

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