French Media Giant Vivendi Eyeing Stake in Lionsgate-Owned Starz

French media company Vivendi is reportedly considering a minority stake bid for Starz, the pay-TV/subscription streaming video company owned by Lionsgate. The interest follows media reports about Roku teaming up with Apollo Global Management for a separate minority bid for Starz, which Lionsgate acquired for $4.4 billion in 2016.

Lionsgate last year said it would entertain offers for Starz, which includes about 20 million subscribers to its SVOD services, in an effort to up the platform’s market value. Starz premium pay-TV platform competes against Paramount Global’s Showtime and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO.

The Financial Times, citing sources, reports that Vivendi’s Canal+ unit is eyeing submitting a bid as a way to consolidate Starz’s streaming business with its 24 million streaming subs split between Europe and Africa. Vivendi currently owns 80% stake in Universal Music Group, which owns several albums in The Beatles catalog.

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As the global SVOD market continues to evolve, subscriber bases underscore market strength and a fiscal leverage when creating and acquiring content. Despite losing 200,000 subs in its most-recent fiscal quarter, Netflix remains the market benchmark with 221 million subs — a tally that has enabled the SVOD pioneer to dominate content spending in Hollywood and beyond.

Both Lionsgate and Vivendi have not commented on any possible negotiations. Lionsgate reports fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2022 results later this month.

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