Weinstein Company Acquires 25 Percent Stake in Starz Media

Starz's Anchor Bay also signs a multi-year U.S. distribution deal with the studio.

NEW YORK - Liberty Media's Starz LLC has agreed to sell a 25 percent stake in Starz Media, which includes Anchor Bay Entertainment and the Starz Digital Media arm, to The Weinstein Company, the companies said Tuesday.
Financial terms weren't disclosed. Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan estimated the value of the stake at below $40 million.
Separately, Anchor Bay has signed a multi-year U.S. home video and digital distribution agreement for new theatrical content from TWC and its Dimension Films label that observers said could boost the standing of Anchor Bay and could help make it a bigger player.
While not including TV rights, the deal spans Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, pay-per-view and digital distribution and covers up to 20 TWC and Dimension titles per year. They include The King's Speech, Blue Valentine and Company Men.

Starz Media is a part of Starz that is separate from Starz Entertainment, which houses the Starz and Encore pay TV channels.

The two deals were announced by Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht and TWC co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
"We are thrilled to partner with Starz and appreciate the commitment of Liberty Media in bolstering Anchor Bay, allowing it to become a much bigger player in non-theatrical distribution," the Weinsteins said. "We hope this strategic partnership is a first step in not only making Anchor Bay a home for our product, but in potentially housing other companies' product as well, giving quality independent films the kind of care needed in today's marketplace."

Harrigan said the distribution deal is a testament to "the credibility of Anchor Bay."

Collins Stewart analyst Thomas Eagan said that the deals likely will help reduce Starz Media's financial losses further and thereby boost the performance of all of Starz.

On Monday, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield had predicted that Netflix would renew its streaming content deal with Starz, which expires this year - or try to acquire it. Greenfield estimated the price tag of a new deal at more than $300 million per year, well above the current $30 million.