EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate Entertainment is in advanced negotiations to acquire top management/production company 3 Arts Entertainment, sources said. I hear Lionsgate is in talks to buy 50% of 3 Arts with an option to acquire the remaining 50% in five years.

Details about the deal are sketchy, but I hear it pegs 3 Arts’ valuation at $300 million at the least, with some sources indicating it could be closer to $350 million. I hear the management/production company’s leadership would be staying put after the transaction. That includes 3 Arts partners Erwin Stoff, Michael Rotenberg, Howard Klein, David Miner, Dave Becky, Nick Frenkel and Molly Madden.

Lionsgate and 3 Arts had no comment.

Lionsgate had indicated that it was on the market for acquisitions, and had been looking at several management/production companies over the past several months as a way of getting closer to talent, sources said. Meanwhile, 3 Arts last year retained the independent investment bank Moelis & Co. to explore possible options, including a sale.

Founded in 1991 by Stoff, Klein and Rotenberg, 3 Arts has gradually became a comedy powerhouse with a strong client roster of A-listers and an expansive producing slate that includes such popular TV series as It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Silicon ValleyBrooklyn Nine-Nine, Insecure, The Good Place, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Baskets, and The Mindy Project.

Access to top talent has been a major driver of recent interest in management companies, illustrated by Electus’ deal for Principato-Young. Additionally, the acquisition would supply Lionsgate with a steady revenue stream from 3 Arts’ ongoing series, with 3 Arts’ slate adding volume to the portfolio of the Lionsgate TV group overseen by Kevin Beggs.

Anita Busch and Mike Fleming Jr. contributed to this report.