Los Angeles Business Journal

Lions Gate Buys 'Twilight' Maker Summit Entertainment

By Jonathan Polakoff Friday, January 13, 2012

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. late Friday said that it had bought Santa Monica’s Summit Entertainment LLC, creator of the hit “Twilight” film franchise, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at more than $412 million.

The Twilight series, the fourth and last installment of which will open in November, has grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide. Lions Gate, which has its main operations in Santa Monica and corporate offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, hopes to have similar success in March with its “Hunger Games,” which like “Twilight” also is based on book series popular with teens.

“This transaction strengthens Lions Gate's asset base while providing significant financial benefits, including highly visible cash flow and revenue,” said Lions Gate Chairman Mark Rachesky in a statement.

Lions Gate said the majority of the purchase was funded with about $300 million in cash on Summit's books. It paid another $55 million from its cash reserves, took on new debt of $45 million and paid $50 million in stock. Another $20 million will be due in cash or stock within 60 days.

At the close of the deal, Summit's existing term loan was refinanced with a $500 million debt facility secured by revenue from Summit's upcoming and existing films. The term loan matures in 2016, but Lions Gate anticipates “repaying the loan well before the maturity date, due to the significant cash flow the business is expected to generate,” the company said.

Shares earlier closed down 1 percent to $8.60 on the New York Stock Exchange.