Lionsgate pays off Summit term loan early

Transaction spikes stock to record height

Lionsgate has paid off its $500 million Summit term loan four years early, spiking its stock to record highs.

Shares closed up 53¢, or 3.4%, to $16.17 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday after trading as high at $16.45. Lionsgate stock hit an all-time high close of $15.81 in September — a year after it reached an accord with Carl Icahn, who sold his 33% stake at $7 a share in a series of deals totaling about $309 million.

Lionsgate took out the term loan as part of its $412.5 million leveraged buyout of Summit Entertainment in January. CEO Jon Feltheimer announced at the annual meeting in Toronto on Sept. 11 that Lionsgate had paid down more than $200 million of the $500 million Summit term loan.

The company disclosed Wednesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had terminated and paid off all amounts outstanding under the Feb. 21 amended credit agreement — nearly four years ahead of the Sept. 7, 2016, maturity date, which had been repayable in quarterly installments of $13.75 million.

The four “Twilight” films have generated more than $2.5 billion in the worldwide box office for Summit, with the fifth and final film, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” opening on Nov. 16. The penultimate “Twilight” grossed $705 million globally.

Variety first reported Sept. 27 that Lionsgate had closed an $800 million refinancing, marking one of the largest such transactions in Hollywood in recent years, and one that will save the company millions of dollars annually. That transaction and the payoff of the term loan mean that Lionsgate is paying significantly lower interest — about 400 basis points — for its operating funds, saving the company about $12 million in annual interest expense.

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