Mon, Oct. 5, 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)
Tue, Sep. 29, 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.
Wed, Sep. 16, 10:20 AM
- With traditional pay TV subscribers on the wane, a potential purchase of Starz (STRZA +5.6%) is not the best way to spend AMC Networks' (AMCX -1.1%) "M&A powder," says Stifel Nicolaus' Benjamin Mogil.
- Adding Starz won't change AMC's affiliate positioning, he writes, though for Starz (up solidly today), the combination makes more sense as a way to accelerate a possible discussion with Lions Gate (LGF +0.9%).
- He rates AMC Networks as a Buy and Starz at Hold.
- A deal here could speed up additional consolidation in the space, writes Macquarie's Amy Yong, who holds a Neutral rating on AMCX and Outperform on STRZA.
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:42 PM
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:39 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is up 7% in after-hours trading on news that it's in talks to be acquired by AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), itself up 2.5% after hours.
- Bloomberg reported the preliminary talks, which come after a few abortive attempts by suitors to acquire Starz in the past year. “They probably ultimately need to combine with others at least from a bundler point of view, if not from an ownership point of view,” John Malone -- Starz's top individual investor -- said last week.
- An AMC deal would require the sign-off of the Dolan family, who control voting power after AMC was spun off from Cablevision four years ago.
- Starz has a market cap of $3.9B and an enterprise value that's grown to more than $5B from $4B last year, during a period when it was often linked to Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF). Shares in Starz are up 26.1% over the past 12 months.
Thu, Sep. 3, 2:17 PM
- Starz (STRZA +1.1%) expands a multi-year deal with Super Channel, the only national English pay TV network in Canada.
- The move means that original programming Starz has been ramping up will be provided to Super Channel, including Ash Vs. Evil Dead and Flesh and Bone, along with forthcoming series The Girlfriend Experience and Starz's first original movie, The Dresser.
- The output deal also includes an annual collection of movies sent via Starz Worldwide Distribution.
Tue, Sep. 1, 5:41 PM
- Starz (STRZA -1.8%) has added its Starz Play service to Roku's streaming platform.
- The service is Starz's TV Everywhere offering for authenticated subscribers. It's offering Roku owners a growing slate of original programming, along with early-window films from Disney, Sony, and others.
- The move adds to Starz Play's reach; it's also available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and Chromecast, as well as iOS/Android devices.
Fri, Aug. 28, 5:37 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- amid a push to pump up original programming with investments -- logged a strong ratings debut for its comedy block, with the help of the former Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.
- Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart and created by Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death), broke the network's records for an original comedy premiere, with 1.5M viewers in live-plus-three-day results, while the second-season premiere of Survivor's Remorse drew 1.3M viewers, up 87% Y/Y. It had 2.2M multiplatform viewers.
- Survivor's Remorse (about a young basketball star) has a number of sports figures attached as producers, notably NBA star LeBron James and his partner Maverick Carter.
- Previously: Starz's 'Power' sets viewership mark with finale (Aug. 21 2015)
Fri, Aug. 21, 3:43 PM
- Starz's (NASDAQ:STRZA) flagship series, Power, hit a new mark with its season 2 finale: 2.39M viewers in live-plus-three-day ratings.
- That's up 50% over the first-season finale, and the season built on the first one throughout. Its 6.5M multiplatform viewers set a record for a Starz original.
- The company noted in its earnings report that it had fortified the pipeline for original programming, highlighted by the addition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, along with Blunt Talk, Survivors Remorse, Da Vinci's Demons, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Flesh and Bone.
- Power has been renewed for a third season.
Thu, Aug. 6, 1:01 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) is down another 5.2% today (down 13.7% in two days) amid a deepening media stock sell-off that it seems to have spurred with its Tuesday earnings report, where it took a fair chunk of time on an analyst call acknowledging subscriber losses at ESPN.
- Also off broadly at midday: CBS -3.1%; CMCSA -4%; FOXA -9.8%; VIAB -15.6%; TWX -5%; AMCX -9.6%; LGF -6.7%.
- The sell-off is affecting several companies with a cable or pay-TV component, as sub losses at ESPN -- the most valuable part of any cable bundle -- point to the effect of cord-cutting.
- Analysts are agreeing that the trend of unbundling (or skinny bundling) might threaten the long-term health of the pay TV ecosystem, which has profited from the promise of rising subscription fees from providers. That's dependent on subscriber counts that don't significantly drop off.
- A growing pile of reports this week is indicating warning signs for subscriber counts. Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) had "almost certainly the worst quarter" for satellite subscriber losses, analyst Craig Moffett noted, as it merged Sling TV subscriber growth into its overall count, masking the core number. Moffett estimates Dish lost 151K satellite TV customers in Q2.
- Subscriber losses mean lower affiliate fees. Disney said in its call "we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
- Other industry decliners: CRWN -8.9%; QVCA -5.4%; STRZA -6.1%
- Previously: Disney tumbles 8.9% after revenue miss; Iger talks ESPN again (Aug. 05 2015)
- Previously: Disney's Iger bullish on ESPN despite consumer changes, unbundling (Aug. 04 2015)
Mon, Aug. 3, 10:18 AM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is off 4.8% in early action after Morgan Stanley downgrades the stock to Equal Weight.
- The firm lowered its price target, to $42 from $46. Shares closed Friday at $40.45 and are trading trading currently at $38.53.
- Q2 results showed that subscriber growth hadn't translated to revenues, MS said -- and "tax frictions" could dissuade possible international buyers for the network until 2016, wrote Ryan Fiftal.
- He's cut his full-year 2015 EPS estimate to $2.53, from $2.60, and notes there's no clear catalyst until 2016 while shares have already appreciated 29.4% YTD.
- Previously: Starz -10.7% after Q2 misses profit, revenue expectations (Jul. 29 2015)
Wed, Jul. 29, 11:33 AM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) has tanked in early trading, -10.7%, after a Q2 miss on top and bottom lines mitigated by subscriber figures that grew from last year.
- Earnings of $63M were down 9% Y/Y despite operating profit that rose to $110.5M. Adjusted OIBDA was $123.4M -- like operating profit, up 5%. For Starz Networks, revenue of $333.3M was up 2%.
- Revenue breakout: Programming networks and other services, $380.3M (up 2.2%); Home video net sales, $37.4M (down 1.8%).
- The company's on track toward a goal of 75-80 episodes of original series, says CEO Chris Albrecht, bolstered by its key hit Power.
- Subscriber count of 23.5M was down slightly from Q1's 23.7M, but up from a year-ago 22M.
- Conference call to come at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Wed, Jul. 29, 6:41 AM
Mon, Jul. 27, 11:36 AM
- Following AT&T's (T +0.6%) closure on its acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), the company reached a new multiyear carriage deal with Starz (STRZA -0.7%).
- Talks had broken down a week ago -- and now AT&T speaks for DirecTV subscribers as well.
- Terms were undisclosed but the two companies renewed their deal with hours to go before a blackout. The talks had been ongoing for several months.
Thu, Jul. 16, 2:36 PM
- Starz (STRZA +2%) is hiring Jeffrey Hirsch to head up a new area of Global Marketing and Product Planning, and he'll join the company on Monday.
- Hirsch -- formerly an executive VP and CMO of residential services at Time Warner Cable -- will oversee development of products and services for worldwide distribution, with particular focus on brand awareness as Starz develops more original programming.
- Starz will hold a conference call to discuss Q2 results on July 29 at 1 p.m. ET.
Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM
- There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
- While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
- "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
- And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
- Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
- Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
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