Lionsgate Stock Jumps on Report CBS Made Informal Bid for Starz

Mike Pont/FilmMagic
Jon Feltheimer

CBS and Lionsgate offered no comment on the reported $5 billion offer for the premium TV channel.

Stock in Lionsgate jumped Friday on the New York Stock Exchange after a report CBS interim CEO Joseph Ianniello recently made an informal $5 billion offer to Lionsgate to acquire the premium cable channel Starz.

Shares in Lionsgate rose $1.66, or 12 percent, to $15.23 after The Information website reported the interest from CBS, which apparently was rebuffed by the Hollywood studio in favor of a more generous offer for Starz.

Representatives from both CBS and Lionsgate offered no comment in response to the media report. Lionsgate in 2016 acquired Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock to create what the studio has called a global content powerhouse.

At the time, Lionsgate in a regulatory filing revealed another unnamed company (widely considered to have been CBS) made a rival bid for Starz, only to be turned down by billionaire investor John Malone, who at the time was a major shareholder in both Lionsgate and Starz.

Chris Albrecht recently left Starz over an apparent reluctance to cede precious few hours of original programming to Lionsgate TV originals. That left Hirsch, COO of the premium cable channel, to oversee Starz and pursue a content acquisition strategy more in line with the wider strategy at Lionsgate as Starz is brought into the studio fold.

That has the development and production pipelines from Lionsgate TV and Starz begin to merge as their respective operations are combined. Besides Power headed to a sixth and final season, Starz's scripted roster includes Outlander, Vida, Sweetbitter, The Rook, The Spanish Princess, Now Apocalypse and American Gods, among others.