Lions Gate Buys 20% Stake in Spyglass, Gaining 200 Titles

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., the independent movie studio known for “John Wick” and “The Hunger Games,” has bought a 20% stake in Spyglass Media Group LLC, giving it access to 200 titles.

The studios will also form a strategic content partnership as part of the agreement, with Lions Gate getting a first look at new shows coming from Spyglass. Spyglass’s properties include the next film in the “Scream” horror franchise, reality fashion competition “Project Runway” and Oscar winner “The King’s Speech.”

The move bolsters both companies, which are competing in an industry increasingly dominated by larger media behemoths. One of Lions Gate’s main competitors, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, recently agreed to be purchased by Amazon.com Inc. -- the same week that WarnerMedia announced a deal to merge its assets with Discovery Inc.

Spyglass Media Group was created by longtime entertainment executive Gary Barber and Lantern Entertainment, which bought the Weinstein Co. assets out of bankruptcy in 2018.

“It is a win/win deal that creates significant incremental value for both companies while continuing to add to our global content distribution platform at a time when the demand for premium content is greater than ever,” Lions Gate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

The companies didn’t disclose terms.

Barber, a Hollywood veteran who went to Spyglass after he was dramatically fired from MGM in 2018 over a rift with its hedge fund owner, will stay on as chairman and CEO, along with the rest of senior leadership. Lions Gate was already a strategic backer of the company, along with Lantern Capital Partners, Warner Bros., Eagle Pictures and Cineworld Group.

In a separate deal also announced Thursday, Lions Gate said its Starz cable channel signed an agreement with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group to exclusively show movies after a period called the pay-one window expires, starting next year. Peacock, a streaming service also owned by Universal parent company Comcast Corp., has the pay-one window for films from the studio, and will exclusively show them about four months after they come out in cinemas.

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