Hollywood's two biggest independent film studios, Lionsgate Films and Summit Entertainment, have been unified in a merger agreement. On Friday, January 13, Lionsgate announced that it has acquired Summit, the studio which developed the "Twilight Saga" film franchise, in a deal for $412.5 million in cash and stock and the assumption of Summit's $500 million debt.
"We are uniting two powerful entertainment brands," said Lionsgate co-chairman Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns in a joint statement. "Bringing together two world-class feature film franchise to establish a commanding position in the young adult market, strengthening our global distribution infrastructure and creating a scalable platform that will result in significant and accretive financial benefits to Lionsgate shareholders."
On the other hand, Summit co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger stated, "We believe that the combined entity will be even greater than the sum of its parts and our dramatically enlarged media platform will create tremendous opportunities for all of us within the Summit and Lionsgate families."
"We want to thank our employees, whose hard work and creativity have led to the successful evolution of Summit into a leading worldwide studio, and the combination of Lionsgate and Summit will be the next chapter in creating a true global media powerhouse," they added.
By agreeing to be acquired by Lionsgate, Summit's owners were able to take benefit around $350 million. About $50 million to $70 million of the acquisition will be done in stock, giving Summit investors a stake of more than 5% in the joint company.
According to Los Angeles Times, Lionsgate hasn't sealed an employment agreement with Friedman and Wachsberger. However, multiple insiders familiar with the matter revealed that the two Summit bosses are expected to serve as the heads of Lionsgate's motion picture group.
Lionsgate is ready to release its potential blockbuster movie "The Hunger Games" on March 23, while Summit is preparing to release the much awaited last installment of the "Twilight Saga" series, "The Twilight Saga's Breaking Dawn Part II", on November 16.