Malone Talks About Buying Programmers

Lions Gate-Starz combo could acquire network owners
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Fresh from backing Charter Communications' bid to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, cable titan John Malone is also thinking about rolling up programmers.

In talks with investors and in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Malone said that Lions Gate Entertainment, the studio he already owns a piece of, and Starz, a company he controls, could combine, then buy other smaller companies that own cable networks.

Those companies could include, AMC Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive.

“Lions Gate could buy Starz and potentially other free radicals in the industry,” Malone told the paper.

Malone could also find a way to incorporate Discovery Communications, another company in which he owns a stake.

He also called CBS a great asset and said he considered Viacom valuable.

None of the programmers commented to the paper.

Last week, analyst Todd Juenger of Sanford C. Bernstein, writing about media mergers, pointed to scenarios involving Malone combining Starz and Lions Gate, and then looking to roll up Discovery, Scripps, AMC and Viacom.

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