Film studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has acquired Summit Entertainment, the maker of the teen hit Twilight series.
The price of the cash-and-share deal, announced late Friday, is about $412.5-million (U.S.), but most of that will come from cash that’s on U.S.-based Summit’s balance sheet.
Lions Gate will pay $170-million of the purchase price in cash, debt and stock, while Summit will refinance an existing loan with a $500-million credit line, secured by collateral of Summit’s assets.
The deal would create a studio among the largest in Hollywood. It would bring together under one roof Twilight and another expected popular teen series The Hunger Games, which Lions Gate is set to release in March.
Vancouver-based Lions Gate said the transaction will expand its 13,000-library of old movies to sell to home video and TV channels and allow it to add and grow its production and distribution capacity and international sales. The combined company will also be able to consolidate administration and become more efficient.
“This transaction continues Lions Gate’s long-term growth strategy of building a diversified worldwide media company through a combination of disciplined, accretive strategic acquisitions and organic growth, while maintaining a solid balance sheet,” said Lions Gate co-chairman and chief executive officer Jon Feltheimer.
“We are uniting two powerful entertainment brands, bringing together two world-class feature film franchises, to establish a commanding position in the young adult market, strengthening our global distribution infrastructure and creating a scalable platform that will result in significant and accretive financial benefits to Lions Gate shareholders.”
For Summit’s shareholders, the Lions Gate transaction follows a special dividend of around $200-million that accompanied a $750-million refinancing last March.
Lions Gate already has a strong TV studio, which makes popular series such as Mad Men, Weeds, Nurse Jackie and is the key distribution partner of comedian Tyler Perry, including his shows House of Payne and Meet the Browns.
But the studio had been distracted recently by a lengthy shareholder battle with activist investor Carl Icahn, who finally agreed last year to sell most of his shares and focus his attention elsewhere.
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