Lionsgate’s Michael Burns opens up on Hollywood studio as takeover target – The Hollywood Reporter

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Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns sees the Hollywood studio as a potentially attractive takeover target amid continued industry-wide mergers and acquisitions in the streaming age.

“We expect to see more consolidation in the media space, that’s obvious. And we’re obviously one of the last really big independent companies, and there’s great scarcity value there, ”Burns told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in a session that was webcast on Tuesday. .

The entertainment industry has seen a recent wave of mergers and acquisitions as major players enter the streaming space and independent studios are bought out for scale and content. “We will continue to identify ways to increase the value of our stock price,” Burns added after recent deals such as the merger of AT & T’s WarnerMedia division with Discovery and the planned acquisition of MGM Studios by Amazon. . the back of Lionsgate and its Starz streaming platform.

The Hollywood studio has long been the subject of M&A talks as digital titans like Facebook, Apple and Amazon take hold in Hollywood. Burns argued that as larger conglomerates buy out rival studios, Lionsgate is busy acquiring content libraries, which includes buying a 20% stake in Spyglass Media Group and around 200 titles. of films.

“The ability to buy these libraries while everyone is standing still is a strategic advantage for us,” he added. The Spyglass 200-title library has been added to Lionsgate’s 17,000 existing film and television titles as the studio seeks to leverage its library acquisitions as with earlier deals for Artisan, Trimark and Summit Entertainment.

Burns also discussed the rising costs of talent in Hollywood, as traditional box office deals with stars are complicated by measures taken during the pandemic era to divert movie titles to space. streaming to attract SVOD subscribers. “The way people are paid, the giant $ 20-25 million players will have different pay criteria if something goes straight to streaming. But I think we’re in the Wild West right now. Many of these agreements will be a little different from what they were before, ”he said.

And even as theatrical windowing evolves, Burns added that high-profile actors will always want to work with Lionsgate. “I believe that the actors, the directors, the talents below the line, they all want to work. And if you have the right script, the right source material, you’re going to get that talent A, because they want to participate in it, ”Burns said.

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