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Starz (STRZA)

  • 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.
    | Wed, Sep. 16, 10:20 AM | Comment!
  • 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.
    | Tue, Sep. 15, 5:39 PM | 1 Comment
  • 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%.
    | Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Jun. 3, 4:41 PM
    • A revitalized John Malone is ready to push consolidation across media firms, with his eye on content now that the Charter-Time Warner Cable wheels are in motion.
    • The "bundle" is coming apart, he tells the WSJ, and as he hinted at earlier this spring, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) could play a key role in content mergers.
    • Lions Gate could buy Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and potentially other free radicals in the industry,” Malone said. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) or AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) could be targets though those agreements might be difficult.
    • Malone engineered a stock-swap earlier this year between Lions Gate and Starz that put him on LGF's board in exchange for 4.51% of Starz, and Lions Gate was reportedly close to a Starz buyout before valuation concern killed the deal.
    • Asked at an investor meeting about CBS and Viacom, Malone didn't announce any plans, pointing to the Sumner Redstone succession issue (Redstone controls near 80% of both companies) -- though there's wide belief that either could be for sale after Redstone's death.
    • Aside from his involvement in Starz and Lions Gate, Malone also has a 29% voting stake in Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) as well as a stake in ITV (OTCPK:ITVPF), not to mention his position in the various Liberty companies. (Liberty Broadband is backing Charter in its TWC takeover.)
    • After a flat day, Starz spiked 1.5% heading into the close, and Lions Gate finished the day up 1.8% as Malone's comments came to light.
    | Wed, Jun. 3, 4:41 PM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, Apr. 29, 10:33 PM
    • Confirming some industry speculation, Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) was close to buying Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) when the two entered a stock-swap deal in February -- and it fizzled in part because of Starz' valuation, The Wrap's Jon Erlichman writes.
    • John Malone (Starz' biggest shareholder) got a board seat at Lions Gate and Starz got 3.43% of LGF in trade for 4.5% of Starz. But Malone reportedly wanted to make a deal, and Starz had talked with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Fox (FOXA, FOX) last fall, Erlichman says.
    • Starz reports earnings tomorrow and any buyer will have to pony up more now than last September: Shares are up more than 30% from their lowest point then, to $38.60 today. If Starz' valuation was a problem for LGF in February, it's bigger now.
    • But Starz CEO Chris Albrecht describes the two companies as "kissing cousins" and a consolidating industry may force Malone's hand somewhat.
    • Previously: Wolff: Get ready for 'M&A mania' with media consolidation (Apr. 09 2015)
    • Previously: Maffei: More might come from Malone-Lions Gate relationship (Mar. 09 2015)
    | Wed, Apr. 29, 10:33 PM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Apr. 9, 9:08 PM
    • Don't let recent merger challenges and failures fool you, Michael Wolff argues: "M&A mania" is coming to a media conglomerate near you amid pressure for a new wave of consolidation.
    • "Perhaps never before has consolidation been so much the flavor of the month, nor has it seemed so difficult to get a taste," he writes. "The table is set, but nobody's sitting down to eat."
    • If Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fails in its bid for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), he notes, it just means other cablers will step up to match Comcast's ambition, and Comcast will still look for a way to stay dominant.
    • He points to a number of mergers he thinks are easily imaginable: Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) and FOX? Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)? TWC and Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR)? Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and, well, most anyone (Disney, Fox, CBS)?
    • Factors encouraging the wave: Media's all about video now, and the pure-play aspect makes merger logic cleaner; distribution and content are separate and now even antagonistic businesses; the growth of over-the-top means not unbundling but re-bundling; and everyone needs scale for negotiation strength in content and ad deals.
    • Other key players: John Malone (LMCA, LBTYA, STRZA); Verizon (NYSE:VZ); Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF); Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI); Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX); DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and AT&T (NYSE:T); Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
    | Thu, Apr. 9, 9:08 PM | 17 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 30, 5:10 PM
    | Mon, Mar. 30, 5:10 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Mar. 9, 8:04 PM
    • Don't be surprised if there's more to John Malone's tie-up with Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), says Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei -- but don't count on it either.
    • Speaking to Deutsche Bank's Media, Internet & Telecom conference, Maffei hinted that Liberty Chairman Malone joining the Lions Gate board as part of a Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) stock swap would help both parties get to know each other.
    • “You need to have partnerships, you need to do more,” Maffei said. “Whether that ultimately leads to acquisitions ... you need to be able to do more with bigger people.”
    • Maffei says HBO's rollout of its streaming service bodes well for Starz, demonstrating how to distribute product in more ways, though "I think we can do it in a way that is in conjunction with our cable, telco, and satellite partners. which is attractive."
    • Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
    • Previously: Lions Gate adds Liberty's Malone to board in Starz stock-swap deal (Feb. 11 2015)
    | Mon, Mar. 9, 8:04 PM | Comment!
  • Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
    • Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
    • Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
    • Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
    | Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM | 4 Comments
  • Sep. 24, 2014, 3:21 AM
    • 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) met with Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) yesterday to discuss a possible purchase of the company, although a person familiar with the matter says Fox took the meeting as a courtesy.
    • While there is no deal yet, a full acquisition of the company would be valued at more than $3.2B, based on Tuesday's closing price.
    • Starz has been recently struggling to create original programming, and also lost a deal to Netflix over accessing movies from Disney, which will take effect in early 2017.
    | Sep. 24, 2014, 3:21 AM | 3 Comments
  • Dec. 19, 2013, 9:11 AM
    • Consolidation in the media industry will involve more than just deals between heavyweights such as Time Warner Cable, Charter Communication, Cox, and Comcast, according to analysis from MoffettNathanson.
    • Due to the negotiating leverage of broadcast networks and sports rights owners, the investment firm sees subscale content owners combining forces in the sector.
    • On watch: Discovery Communications (DISCA), Scripps Network Interactive (SNI), AMC Networks (AMCX), Starz (STRZA), Madison Square Garden (MSG).
    • Related ETFs: PBS
    | Dec. 19, 2013, 9:11 AM | Comment!
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Company Description
Starz is a media and entertainment company. It provides premium subscription video programming to U.S. MVPDs, including cable operators, satellite television providers and telecommunications companies.