Lionsgate Stock Pops After Report Of Active Merger Talks

Lionsgate Viacom CBS Corp Question Mark
Lionsgate/REX/Shutterstock/CBS Corp/Shutterstock

Lionsgate stock roared out of the gate this morning, rising 5% in the opening hour before going on to finish the day up 7% at $34.50 a share.

The jump followed Deadline’s exclusive report yesterday that the company is in active merger discussions with Amazon, Verizon and a potentially recombined Viacom-CBS.

Overall, major stock indices declined on the dayday. It is worth noting, though, that some of the top gainers in the media sector included all of the aforementioned Lionsgate suitors — Viacom gained 6% and CBS added 2% for the session. Verizon and Amazon, whose entertainment activities generally don’t move their stocks, each dropped a small fraction.

Shares in Lionsgate have climbed more than 20% since the start of November. On the film side, the company has had a strong few months, releasing Wonder at Thanksgiving, a family hit that has taken in more than $200 million worldwide. On the TV side, with Starz now in the fold and dozens of shows set up across linear and digital platforms, the operation continues to hum. The company’s fiscal second-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations, with total revenue coming in at $941 million.

One element of intrigue in any potential combination is the management team. Lionsgate’s top exec tandem of CEO John Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns have run the company for the better part of two decades, guiding the indie outfit through the acquisitions of Artisan, Debmar-Mercury, Summit and Starz. Burns and Feltheimer are under contract through 2022 and 2023, respectively.

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