Starz shares are down 3.7% in mid-day trading after CNBC’s David Faber said that CBS — which owns Showtime — doesn’t plan to buy the premium network company. The stock essentially gave up the gains it saw early last week when the New York Post reported that CBS and Lionsgate, a partner with Viacom and MGM at EPIX, were interested in Starz — floating the possibility of a $5 billion valuation, a 43% premium over its current market value.
CBS chief Les Moonves told analysts last month that Showtime “is doing extremely well” with its original programming while Starz “is based more on movies. It’s a very interesting asset, but we feel content with what we have right now.”
In September Starz hired investment bank LionTree Advisors to look for deals. CEO Chris Albrecht declined to comment on the process in an October 30 call with analysts, but said that the company has “confidence in the plan and in the team that we have in place.” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, who’s chairman of Starz, has openly said that it would benefit by teaming up with a larger entity. Liberty owns 49% of Starz’ voting shares and controls the company.