John Malone Has Bigger-Than-Expected Lionsgate Stake, SEC Filing Reveals

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John Malone

The studio reports the cable magnate's personal holding is 8.1 percent, not a widely reported 7.5 percent, whether or not Lionsgate merges with Starz.

As John Malone continues assembling content assets to create a media empire, his stake in Lionsgate just got a little bigger than anticipated as the Hollywood studio gets set to merge with Starz.

Lionsgate in a Nov. 23 SEC filing reveals the cable pioneer's stake in the studio will go from 3.43 to 8.1 percent, not the 7.5 percent voting reach that has been widely reported as the $4.4 billion merger with Starz moves closer to completion.

And that's whether or not Lionsgate merges with Starz, the 8K filing indicates, though that deal only awaits investor approvals expected from shareholder votes planned for Dec. 7.

Malone in February 2015 first traded a portion of his Starz shares for a 3.43 percent holding in Lionsgate and a boardroom seat at the studio. The billionaire investor was then key to bringing Starz and Lionsgate together as both companies moved deeper into his investment orbit.

Lionsgate revealed the size of Malone's voting stake in the SEC filing as part of disclosures made to settle an Oct. 7 class action suit, Levy v. Malone, brought by a studio investor.

Malone, who owns stakes in both Lionsgate and Starz, is hoping the combination of the companies will create a new major media player and ensure his entertainment content assets thrive in the face of a fast-changing industry full of digital disruption.

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