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Lionsgate Buys Stake in Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios

Lionsgate is joining in the acquisition boom for unscripted production companies, buying a stake in Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios, home of Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters” and National Geographic TV’s “Wicked Tuna.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed that Lionsgate has acquired a majority interest in the company for about $200 million in cash and stock. The studio described the pact as a “strategic investment” that would enhance its unscripted TV production activity.

“This transaction scales and diversifies our television business by aligning Pilgrim, the market leader in nonfiction programming, with our robust scripted production operations as well as our premier syndication business operating under the Debmar-Mercury banner,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

Pilgrim Studios, founded in 1997 by reality TV vet Craig Piligian, has a slate of 47 projects in the works across 27 networks. Piligian will remain on board as CEO. The company will be run as an autonomous entity. Piligian is the sole owner of Pilgrim.

“This deal creates tremendous synergies between our companies, including the benefits of our respective relationships in the industry and the strength of Lionsgate’s worldwide distribution infrastructure; we’re very excited to work together to accelerate the next phase of our growth,” Piligian said.

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