Lionsgate has acquired the vast majority of the Spyglass Media Group’s feature film library of approximately 200 titles and formed a strategic content partnership, the two companies announced today. The agreement gives Lionsgate a 20% investment stake in Spyglass. whose major assets include the latest installment of the Scream blockbuster horror franchise to be released January 14, 2022, the hit movie The Upside, the iconic fashion competition series Project Runway, and the revival of the Hellraiser franchise, currently in pre-production.
Financial details weren’t provided.
The agreement includes a multiyear first-look television deal between Lionsgate Television and Spyglass. The library titles acquired by Lionsgate encompass a broad range of critically-acclaimed commercial blockbusters including Fruitvale Station, The King’s Speech, Scream 4, Scary Movie 5, Spy Kids 4, Paddington, Silver Linings Playbook, Lee Daniel’s The Butler and, adding to the Company’s large and growing portfolio of Quentin Tarantino titles, Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds and The Hateful Eight.
Gary Barber will continue to lead Spyglass as its Chairman and CEO and Spyglass’ senior leadership team will remain in their current roles. The former CEO of MGM formed Spyglass in 2019 with Lantern Entertainment to blend new film and TV projects with the former Weinstein Co. assets. Strategic investors included Eagle Pictures, the largest independent distributor in Italy, and the UK’s Cineworld Group, owner of Regal Cinemas.
The deal could be viewed as the latest consolidation-y play amid a spate of real and rumored deals as content becomes increasingly valuable. With MGM spoken for by Amazon, Lionsgate has been viewed as an attractive takeover target — big, but not too big to digest. ViacomCBS is also seen a a possible takeout for a deep pocketed buyer and smaller players from Reese Witherspoon’s company Hello Sunshine to LeBron James’ SpringHill Company have received expressions of interest.
The Spyglass agreement leans into Lionsgate’s library strength following a year of record $780 million in revenue from its 17,000 film and TV titles. The company has a long track record of monetizing library acquisitions over the years from Artisan to Trimark to Summit. “It fits with the Lionsgate mold,” said one Wall Street analyst. “Even if you are thinking of selling, it’s a ongoing operation. A buyer would be pleased with anything they are building. They have a very good track history in making [library] acquisitions. That is how they built the company.”
“This agreement continues to grow our valuable portfolio of IP while partnering us with Gary Barber, one of the leading entrepreneurs and content creators in the business,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “It is a win/win deal that creates significant incremental value for both companies while continuing to add to our global content distribution platform at a time when the demand for premium content is greater than ever.”
“I am grateful for the steadfast support from our strategic investors and am thrilled to align with Jon Feltheimer, Michael Burns and all our partners at Lionsgate as we look forward to expanding our relationship in creating great content and exploring strategic opportunities together in the marketplace,” said Barber.
“Two years ago, we were excited to team up with Gary and have him do what he does best –build Spyglass Media Group into a global premium content company and, in short order, increase shareholder value. Once again, he successfully exceeded those challenges, and we are delighted to continue the journey with him,” said Spyglass’ strategic investors in a joint statement from Andy Mitchell, CEO of Lantern Capital; Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; Tarak Ben Ammar, Chairman, Eagle Pictures; and Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld Group.
For Lionsgate, the deal leans into its library strength following a year of record $780 million in revenue from its 17,000 film and TV titles. The company has a long track record of monetizing library acquisitions over the years from Artisan to Trimark to Summit. “It fits with the Lionsgate mold,” said one Wall Street analyst. “[Even if you are thinking of selling, it’s a ongoing operation. A buyer would be pleased with anything they are building. They have a very good track history in making [library] acquisitions. That is how they built the company.”
The transaction was negotiated for Lionsgate by a team headed by Lionsgate COO Brian Goldsmith and Lionsgate EVP & General Counsel Corii Berg, with Sheppard Mullin LLP acting as legal advisor. The transaction was negotiated for Spyglass by a team headed by Chief Legal Officer Cheryl Rodman, with Moelis & Company LLC serving as the exclusive financial advisor and Venable LLP acting as a legal advisor for Spyglass Media Group.