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Fri, Feb. 5, 11:39 AM
- Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) has hit a three-year low, tumbling 30.6% in its worst decline since going public, after a dim Q3 earnings report that showed weakness in its film results. The move is knocking half a billion dollars off the studio's market cap.
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- now back in merger talks with Lions Gate -- has tanked 15.7% as well so far today.
- FBR & Co. has cut its price target on Lions Gate twice since Thanksgiving -- first from $43 to $38 at the end of November, and then from $38 to $31 on Monday. Shares closed at $25.45 yesterday and are trading at $17.72 today.
- Stifel Nicolaus this morning cut its price target to $35, from $42. It holds a Buy rating on the stock, as does FBR. B. Riley on Wednesday reiterated its Buy rating and $50 price target.
- Previously: Lions Gate down 5.3% as movie weakness spurs Q3 misses (Feb. 04 2016)
- Previously: Lions Gate Entertainment misses by $0.07, misses on revenue (Feb. 04 2016)
Wed, Feb. 3, 4:27 PM
- Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) is back a the negotiating table with Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) over an acquisition, reports Bloomberg.
- The company made a serious effort late in 2014 to buy Starz only to be scared off by the deal price.
- LGF spiked late to finish with a 1.4% gain, while Starz also jetted up in the last hour of trading to end +1.8%.
Wed, Jan. 6, 2:36 PM
- Licensing arm Starz Digital (STRZA -1.3%) has a deal with Tubi TV to distribute indie films and TV series on the platform for free streaming.
- Starz Digital manages programming for media companies including AMC Networks and the Weinstein Company; Tubi TV, which now features more than 40,000 titles, boasts investments from MGM and Lionsgate as well as other investors including Cota Capital, Foundation Capital and others.
- The new content (targeted at indie releases rather than hits) will be available on connected platforms including Apple TV, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Samsung TVs, along with iOS/Android and the Web.
Tue, Jan. 5, 8:18 PM
- Starz (STRZA -1.4%) is the channel with the pay-TV rights to galaxy-buster Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- and on the cheap, according to The New York Post.
- The channel is paying a bargain $17.5M for the rights, The Post reports, based on an expiring deal with Walt Disney (DIS -2%) that covered movies in theaters through 2015's end.
- Disney has a new distribution deal with Netflix, who likely would have had to pay $40M for the rights, a source says. Starz, meanwhile, usually has to pay about $4M per hour of original programming.
- Netflix does get to stream The Force Awakens -- in Canada, and will pick up later Star Wars films in America.
- “The benefit to Starz is it’s a sleepy brand and it will stir some excitement," says Albert Fried's Rich Tullo. "It’s like having a Super Bowl to launch other programming.”
- Previously: Disney -2.2% as Macquarie downgrades, Cowen sees tougher 2016 (Jan. 05 2016)
Nov. 30, 2015, 5:16 PM
- With its final Hunger Games sequel putting up a "disappointing" run at the box office (lower than last fall's film, but still stellar numbers) and with FBR cutting its price target, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) finished down 2.5% today.
- FBR reiterated an overall bullish take, but reduced its earnings estimates, and cut its price target to $38 on sum-of-the-parts valuation. Shares closed at $33.94, implying 12% upside.
- FBR now forecasts that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will top out at $300M in total domestic box office, and earn $240M in profits, down from previous estimates of $380M box office and $315M in profits.
- Together, the final two films in the series should generate $200M in 2016 profits and $100M in 2017, FBR says.
- M&A is still on the table, and FBR's Barton Crockett says tax constraints could delay merger news with oft-cited partner Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) until early 2016.
Nov. 9, 2015, 8:05 PM
- With the review of Charter Communications' (NASDAQ:CHTR) buyout of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) proceeding apace at the FCC, the agency is sending requests tied to cable mogul John Malone's holdings not only in Charter but in content companies like Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), which supply Charter rivals.
- The agency has sent letters to the companies that list Malone as their chairman -- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA) and Liberty Broadband (NASDAQ:LBRDA), which holds 26% of Charter -- and asked about Malone's influence over those entities as well as the content creators and DirecTV.
- It's a "pretty meaningful request," says BTIG's Rich Greenfield, while Craig Moffett points at the Comcast deal for NBCUniversal in saying that Malone's tangled ownership is "probably not a big issue."
- Malone has a 46.6% voting interest in Liberty Broadband, which would be entitled to vote no more than 25.01% of shares in the new combination, Charter has said. His interests in Discovery and Starz are "minority interests" where he wouldn't control day-to-day decisions.
- The American Cable Association (representing smaller providers) argues that Malone's interests aren't insubstantial and that consumers can expect higher rates unless the FCC imposes conditions on the deal.
- Previously: BTIG: Are TWC, Charter too strong separately to sell merger case? (Nov. 02 2015)
- Previously: Charter call: Talking wireless ambitions, slamming password sharing (Oct. 29 2015)
Nov. 4, 2015, 11:16 AM
- Cable TV networks are sinking in reaction to sharply lowered guidance from Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which is using its conference call to lower expectations for ratings and subscribers in 2016.
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) was positive earlier but has tumbled 2.6%; Twenty-First Century Fox is off (FOX -4.6%, FOXA -4.9%); Viacom has sunk (VIA -5.2%, VIAB -6.2%); Discovery Communications as well (DISCA -4.3%).
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) is off 3.5% and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) down 2.1%.
- Time Warner is now -10% in reaction to its conference call, still ongoing.
- Previously: Time Warner dives 7.9%, cutting 2016 outlook on call (Nov. 04 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner -0.7% early after Q3 beats on strength at HBO, Warner Bros. (Nov. 04 2015)
Oct. 30, 2015, 12:27 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is off 10% following its Q3 earnings miss yesterday as analysts come in with downgrades and price target cuts.
- Credit Agricole and CLSA lowered ratings by a few notches, setting shares to Underperform from a previous Buy rating.
- Meanwhile, FBR lowered its price target to $40, from $44, and Pivotal reduced its target to $35, from $37. Shares are currently trading at $33.50.
- FBR holds an Outperform rating while Pivotal rates the stock a Hold.
- In an unusual step, Starz commented on the suit filed by former senior VP Keno Thomas (against the company, along with CEO Chris Albrecht, CRO Michael Thornton and Liberty Media) over discrimination claims tied to his firing that also includes allegations that the network wanted him to falsify revenue and subscriber numbers for the company's board.
- “Normally, we would not comment on pending litigation, and, in this instance the company has not even been served,” says a spokesperson. “However, based on reading the complaint in the press, rest assured that Starz, as well as the other defendants cited, will defend themselves vigorously against these scurrilous, unsubstantiated and offensive attacks by a disgruntled former employee.”
- Previously: Starz misses as distribution declines offset network gains (Oct. 29 2015)
Oct. 29, 2015, 4:58 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is flat in after-hours trading following a third quarter report where it missed slightly on top and bottom lines, though revenues increased at Starz Networks as subscribers increased.
- Overall revenue declined 1% to $404.1M; Starz Networks revenue rose to $329.3M. Its Distribution business revenue fell 11% to $65.6M. Consolidated adjusted OIBDA was up 4% to $114.7M ($120.2M expected).
- The Network business saw an increase in programming costs for original series while advertising and marketing costs fell. In distribution, revenues slipped on lower revenue from AMC's The Walking Dead that wasn't offset by significant new Starz series. OIBDA rose to $0.9M, though, based on distributing films for The Weinstein Co.
- Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
Oct. 29, 2015, 4:54 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA): Q3 EPS of $0.56 misses by $0.03.
- Revenue of $404.1M (-1.0% Y/Y) misses by $18.52M.
Oct. 28, 2015, 2:33 PM
- It's not even Halloween yet, but Starz (STRZA +2.3%) has given an early renewal to its original series Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- The show, set to premiere on Saturday, is a follow-up to the Sam Raimi Evil Dead film series (1981-1992).
- Starz has ordered a second season of 10 episodes that will return principals, including Bruce Campbell as chainsaw-handed Ash and Lucy Lawless.
- Licensing deals are bringing Ash vs. Evil Dead to more than 100 countries/territories for a simultaneous premiere Halloween night.
Oct. 22, 2015, 3:27 PM
- Starz (STRZA +0.8%) has launched its Starz Play service for "select" Android TV-powered devices.
- The move brings the "TV Everywhere" offering to devices including Google's Nexus Player, Nvidia's Shield and Sony's Android-powered TVs.
- It comes in time for the network's upcoming Halloween premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- Starz Play was already available on Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox, Chromecast, and a number of iOS/Android phones and tablets as well as PCs and Macs.
Oct. 20, 2015, 8:04 PM
- After a lot of talk about the evolution of TV upfronts, a swath of hyped premieres and political debates and the return of football, TV ad spending for Q3 was flat Y/Y.
- Cable spending rose 1% for the quarter, but broadcast ads fell 3%, according to Standard Media Index. Local-focused spot spending was up 2%.
- Syndication spending fell 6%; local cable, MSO and satellite TV slipped 1%.
- There were few positive signs, but the scatter market rose 6% for the quarter, and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI) and AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) showed ad spending growth, as did broadcasters Telemundo and ABC (NYSE:DIS).
- Local broadcast stocks: SBGI, MEG, SNI, GTN, MDP, TGNA, NXST
- Other network stocks: AMCX, DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOX, FOXA, VIA, VIAB, STRZA, DISCA
Oct. 13, 2015, 11:56 AM
- Starz (STRZA +0.7%) has entered into a deal with C More Entertainment for exclusive pay TV and subscription video on demand rights in Scandinavia.
- The pact -- between C More, Starz Digital and Starz Worldwide Distribution -- means that the company can provide subscribers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland with Starz's new original series (including Ash vs. Evil Dead, Flesh and Bone, The Girlfriend Experience) shortly after the U.S. airing, and library content including Power, Black Sails and Survivor's Remorse, the LeBron James-produced basketball series.
- The deal also includes premiere rights for the first Starz Original movie, The Dresser.
Oct. 5, 2015, 5:31 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) are in advanced talks about a merger, the Los Angeles Times is reporting -- a move that's been much discussed as investors divined John Malone's intentions.
- Starz is up 1.6% after hours; LGF is up 7.5% in late trading.
- According to the sources, Lions Gate management would run a combined company but find a key role for Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.
- Earlier this year, Malone hinted at a bigger tie-up after taking a minority stake in Lions Gate via a stock swap
- An outright deal isn't the only possible outcome, the Times said; a variety of closer partnerships are part of the discussions as well.
- Previously: Report: Lions Gate was close to Starz buyout (Apr. 29 2015)
- Previously: Maffei: More might come from Malone-Lions Gate relationship (Mar. 09 2015)
- Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
Sep. 29, 2015, 5:28 PM
- In musical TV news, Starz (STRZA -1.9%) has expanded its partnership with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, executive producer of its biggest original hit, Power.
- A new two-year exclusive deal means that Jackson's G Unit Film & Television will produce new projects for the network along with keeping Jackson on to star in and produce Power.
- In other rap collaborations, ABC Family (DIS +1%) gives the go-ahead to a new series from Nicki Minaj, who like Jackson will executive produce and star in her show. It'll be based on immigration with her family from Trinidad.
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