"Mad Men," "Twilight" unite in $412.5 million deal
By Lisa Richwine
Jan 13 - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp said it bought private movie studio Summit Entertainment, producer of the blockbuster "Twilight" vampire series, for $412.5 million in cash and stock.
With the deal, television and movie producer Lions Gate gains the fifth and final "Twilight" movie, set for release in November; a stronger presence in international distribution, and 13,000 older film titles such as Oscar winner for Best Picture "The Hurt Locker" for its film library.
The agreement announced on Friday comes as Lions Gate is preparing for the March release of its first "Hunger Games" movie, part of a triology aimed at the teen audience that made "Twilight" a mega-hit. The first four "Twilight" films have sold nearly $2.5 billion in tickets around the world.
Lions Gate is the studio behind the film "Precious" and the "Saw" horror franchise as well as TV shows "Mad Men," "Nurse Jackie" and "Weeds." The company was engaged in a years-long battle with activist investor Carl Icahn that ended last August when Icahn dropped his battle for control and sold his shares in the studio.
Summit's chief executive, Rob Friedman, and Co-Chairman Patrick Wachsberger re-launched Summit in 2007 as a full-service movie studio, expanding from its roots as a company primarily devoted to the foreign sales of movies.
Both the Lions Gate and Summit labels "are expected to be active in the production and distribution of films," the companies said.
The majority of the purchase price was funded with cash on the balance sheet at Summit, the companies said in a joint statement. But Lions Gate will remain in control of the combined studio with Jon Feltheimer continuing as co-chairman and chief executive officer. Michael Burns will remain vice chairman.
The companies did not say if Summit's Friedman and Wachsberger would stay with the new studio or what their roles would be. In the statement announcing the deal, the pair said the new company's "dramatically enlarged media platform will create tremendous opportunities for all of us within the Summit and Lionsgate families." Continued...