With Liberty spinoff complete, pay cabler is prime acquisition target

Jeff Sagansky, Susan Lyne, Derek Chang and Rob Wiesenthal are among the new board members of Starz, which completed its spinoff from Liberty Media on Friday afternoon.

Starz will begin trading on the Nasdaq as a public entity on Monday — meaning that the “for sale” sign has officially been planted on the company, a clutch of 16 pay cable networks and production-distribution assets.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei remains chairman of Starz’s board of directors, which also include Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, music mogul Irving Azoff, former CBS and Sony exec Sagansky, former DirecTV exec Chang, former ABC Entertainment chief Lyne, former Liberty Media exec veep Charles Tanabe, Warner Music Group chief operating officer Wiesenthal, and attorney Daniel Sanchez.

As part of the spinoff, Starz distributed $1.2 billion to its parent company. The pay cabler now has $450 million available under its bank credit facility, and it has another $400 million earmarked for its stock repurchase program.

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