Lionsgate inks five-year financing deal

JPMorgan, Wachovia credit facility could hit $500 mil

TORONTO -- Lionsgate signaled that future acquisitions could be in the offing Monday as it unveiled a five-year, $340 million revolving credit facility with JPMorgan and Wachovia.

The new financing, which replaces a $215 million JPMorgan credit facility and can be increased to $500 million, will fund "potential strategic opportunities that may arise," Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns said.

Vancouver-based Lionsgate, which has $371 million in cash on hand and no bank debt, has spent $150 million over the past three years in acquiring U.K.'s Redbus Film Distributors, the Debmar-Mercury TV syndication business and indie studio Mandate Pictures.

Lionsgate also is investing in digital firms, most recently with and the launch of FEARNet, with partners Sony and Comcast. It also plans to launch a premium TV service with Viacom, Paramount Pictures and MGM.

The JPMorgan and Wachovia credit facility was negotiated for Lionsgate by Burns, CFO Jim Keegan and executive vp business and legal affairs James Gladstone.

Legal advisers Morgan Lewis & Bockius acted on behalf of JPMorgan and Jim Russell of Heenan Blaikie for Lionsgate.