CBS made informal offer to buy Starz: The Information

CBS made informal offer to buy Starz: The Information

FILE PHOTO: The CBS “eye” and logo are seen outside the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th St. in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – CBS Corp has expressed interest in acquiring cable channel Starz from Lions Gate Entertainment, the Information reported on Friday, citing four people familiar with the situation.

Joseph Ianniello, the interim chief executive officer of CBS, made an informal offer of around $5 billion over the past few weeks, which Lions Gate turned down, seeking a higher valuation, the report said, adding CBS was still interested in a possible deal.

CBS and Lions Gate did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Lions Gate, the film studio behind the Hunger Games movies, bought Starz for $4.4 billion in a cash-and-stock deal in 2016.

CBS, home to popular shows such as the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Big Bang Theory” has been looking at the deal as a possible complement to Viacom Inc, which CBS also is considering purchasing, the report said.

While media majors Walt Disney Co and AT&T Inc are tapping into their extensive film and TV libraries to launch streaming rivals to Netflix and Amazon.com’s Prime Video, smaller players CBS and sister company Viacom Inc are focusing on providing original content to other distributors.

CBS is on track to invest more than $8 billion in programming this year, Ianniello had said.

Shares of Lions Gate rose nearly 13% on the report.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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