Lionsgate Acquires eOne Studio, Production Company for $500 Million

Lionsgate is acquiring the eOne studio and production company from Hasbro for $500 million, including $375 million in cash and the assumption of production financing loans. Hasbro acquired eOne in 2019 for almost $4 billion.

The deal includes the eOne portfolio of 6,500 scripted and unscripted television and motion pictures. Under the agreement, Lionsgate will acquire a library that includes titles such as 1917, Atomic Blonde, Green Book, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Renegade” and “Designated Survivor.” The scripted television business includes “The Rookie” TV franchise, now in its sixth season on ABC, the spinoff “The Rookie: Feds,” and production of Showtime’s critically-acclaimed horror thriller “Yellowjackets.” eOne’s unscripted business includes the long-running reality series “Naked & Afraid,” now in its 11th season on Discovery.

eOne’s movie business includes last year’s action adventure The Woman King, which debuted to widespread critical acclaim, the Academy Award-nominated The United States v. Billie Holiday, and 1917, eOne’s highest-grossing U.K. release ever. As part of the agreement, Lionsgate also will acquire film development rights to Hasbro’s Monopoly, based on the legacy board game.

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The acquisition will allow Lionsgate to continue to scale its operations in the U.K. and Canada, where it has recently launched production partnerships with BBC Studios (“Ghosts”), Channel Four (“Motherland”), the CBC (“Son of a Critch”), Rogers’ CityTV (“Wong & Winchester”) and Bell Media.

“The acquisition checks off all the boxes in areas that play to our core strengths,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. “It will be immediately and highly accretive, adds a world-class library with thousands of properties, strengthens our scripted and unscripted television business and continues to expand our presence in Canada and the U.K.”

Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks said the gaming company looks forward to partnering with Lionsgate on the theatrical production of a movie adaptation of Monopoly.

“Lionsgate’s management team is experienced in entertainment and adept at driving value, and we’re glad to have found such a good home for our film and TV business,” Cocks said in a statement.

Judge Approves $26 Billion Sprint, T-Mobile Merger

A U.S. District Court Judge Feb. 11 approved the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint — paving the way for an empowered telecommunications partnership that includes Dish Network and is aimed at competing against AT&T and Verizon.

The deal, which was approved by the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission, still requires a formal greenlight from the California Public Utilities Commission.

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U.S. Judge Victor Marrero, in his ruling, denied claims by several State Attorney Generals that the merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would stifle competition and raise consumer rates, among other issues.

In addition, the Marrero dismissed concerns Dish Network wouldn’t be able to enter the market successfully as a wireless carrier. As part of the Sprint, T-Mobile deal, Dish agreed to acquire Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and other prepaid phone businesses for $5 billion.

Dish, which operates a satellite TV distribution business, has been looking to diversify its business, including launching online TV platform Sling TV.

“The resulting stalemate leaves the court lacking sufficiently impartial and objective ground on which to rely in basing a sound forecast of the likely competitive effects of a merger,” Marrero wrote in support of the deal.

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As part of the transaction, Sprint and T-Mobile said they would deploy a 5G nationwide network within three years of closing the deal.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has opposed the merger, said the deal thwarts consumer rights and fair pricing.

“We’ll stand on the side of competition over megamergers, every time,” Becerra said. “And our coalition is prepared to fight as long as necessary to protect innovation and competitive costs.”

Talent Firm Endeavor Acquires Video Streaming Company NeuLion

Digital media distribution company NeuLion and sports and entertainment talent firm Endeavor March 26 announced a merger agreement by which Endeavor will acquire NeuLion in an all-cash deal valued at about $250 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Endeavor will acquire each share of outstanding common stock of NeuLion for 84 cents a share. Upon completion of the transaction, Plainview, N.Y.-based NeuLion will become a privately held subsidiary of Beverley Hills, Calif.-based Endeavor.

The talent firm will use NeuLion to help clients expand streaming video distribution and monetizing opportunities.

“NeuLion provides an ideal combination of technology and client services, and we’re excited for the value this brings to our existing partners and the foundation it provides for our future digital growth,” Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, said in a statement.

The transaction, approved by NeuLion’s board of directors and by the written consent of holders of a majority of outstanding common stock, is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. It is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

“We’re excited by the value delivered to our stockholders through this transaction, and we’re looking forward to the dynamic opportunities that being part of the Endeavor family will provide for both our current and new clients,” said Roy Reichbach CEO of NeuLion.

NeuLion expects to release fourth-quarter 2017 earnings on March 30.