Colorado billionaire John Malone helped orchestrate $4.4 billion Lionsgate-Starz deal

Lionsgate’s $4.4B offer to buy the premium television channel Starz was backed by one of Colorado’s richest residents, according to new financial documents.

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Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion offer to buy the premium television channel Starz was backed by one of Colorado’s richest residents, according to new financial documents.

Media mogul John Malone recommended Starz board of directors reject at least two other companies and approve the deal Lionsgate put forward. Malone’s negotiations about the deal date back to 2014, the documents filed Monday show.

Starz’s board ultimately accepted the offer. On June 30, the executives announced the Englewood-based entertainment company would be acquired by Lionsgate, the distributor of “The Hunger Games” and producer of “Mad Men”.

The deal linked two companies Malone was invested in and positions California-based Lionsgate to be a global content powerhouse.

Malone sits on Lionsgate’s board of directors and owned shares in Starz.

In 2013, Starz was spun off of Liberty Media Corp. Malone is chairman of the Englewood-based media company. Analysts believe the goal of the spin-off was to ultimately find Starz a home with a new parent company.

Lionsgate’s acquisition of Starz is expected to save the companies $50 million annually in operating costs and an average of $150 million annually in taxes through fiscal 2021, the financial filings show.

The deal is also anticipated to boost Lionsgate’s content creation capabilities, enhances its leadership in premium, scripted programming and expand its global distribution footprint across mobile, broadband, cable and satellite platforms.

All that is expected to mean more money for investors like Malone.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.