Lionsgate deal

Dealmakers Impact Report 2010

Jon Feltheimer & Michael Burns
Co-chairman/CEO and vice chairman, Lionsgate Entertainment

Lionsgate emerged as a giant in Hollywood — revenue will hit $1.6 billion this year from just $180 million in 2000 — after a decade of astute acquisitions.

“We look at the synergies and potential savings in G&A (general and administrative) costs by combining two similar organizations,” Burns told an investors conference call earlier this year.

Burns, whose experience is in Wall Street finance, complements the operations and strategic view of Feltheimer, whose background is in TV at Sony Pictures and New World Entertainment. They’ve been a team at Lionsgate since 2000 and say they’ll walk away from any deal if the price is not right.

KEY DEALS: Lionsgate’s most transforming deal was the 2003 purchase of Artisan Entertainment for $160 million, which catapulted Lionsgate into the top tier of homevid distribs. Other acquisitions over the years: Trimark Holdings, London-based Redbus Distribution (now Lionsgate U.K.), domestic TV program distributor Debmar-Mercury, Mandate Pictures and TV Guide Network — making the company a rare Hollywood indie that’s a player in the hot basic cable sector. In addition, Lionsgate partnered with the likes of Comcast, Viacom and media tycoon Haim Saban in TV channels FearNet, Epix and Tiger Gate (in Asia).

“We continue to look for opportunities to leverage the unique platform we’ve built by partnering with other valuable and properly priced assets,” Feltheimer explained to investors.

In one of the stranger circumstances of dealmaking, Feltheimer and Burns explored a merger in with MGM (though passed over by MGM in late October) with support from shareholder Carl Icahn, who separately is pressing unsolicited takeover of Lionsgate.

SPARE TIME: Feltheimer: Golf, cycling, skiing, running.

TOP CAUSE: Feltheimer: Washington U.

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