Lionsgate, Starz Shareholders to Vote on Deal on Dec. 7

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John Malone

The separate meetings will allow investors to vote on the studio's proposed $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz, which would bring together two companies in John Malone's investment universe.

Lionsgate and Starz on Monday set Dec. 7 as the date for shareholders to vote, in separate special meetings, on their proposed $4.4 billion merger.

Lionsgate in a regulatory filing said it would hold its special shareholder meeting at its offices in Santa Monica, while Starz will host its meeting at its headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Setting the date for the shareholder meetings is another milestone in the long-awaited deal to bring together two companies in the investment universe of cable tycoon John Malone.

The December dates also are in line with plans to complete the deal by the end of the year. Lionsgate and Starz last week issued a joint proxy statement that included details on a share reclassification proposal that benefits Malone as they set out to woo investors.

The proposed combined company will have a 16,000-title film and TV library, making it the largest independent television business in the world, with 87 original series on 42 U.S. networks. The new entity also will include the operation of or investment in 30 channel platforms around the world, namely the flagship Starz platform that reaches 24 million U.S. subscribers, the Starz Encore network with over 32 million subscribers and five OTT services.

Malone, who owns big stakes in both companies, is hoping the combination 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.