Monday, September 10, 2012

Starz Split

... and galaxies spin on their way.

But I digress.

I found out last week from a Film Roman staffer (almost a month after the fact) that Starz and its animation studio Film Roman is being, as the saying goes, "spun off."

Liberty Media, the media conglomerate ... and the premium cable business Starz will split, leaving Starz as a separate publicly traded company. Liberty Media announced on Wednesday that its businesses, assets and liabilities — minus those of Starz — would be put in a new company whose shares would be distributed to Liberty Media shareholders. Starz, with about $1.5 billion in debt and an undetermined amount of cash, will become a separate company.

Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG Research, wrote in a note on Wednesday that an independent Starz was likely to become a takeover target. “With strong free cash flow, even when levered 2x-3x, Starz would appear to be an attractive acquisition target,” ...

What this means for the future, I donno. The spin off won't happen until the end of this year or the beginning of next. I do know that the larger company has tried to sell Film Roman before, without result. They've never been totally enthusiastic about being in the cartoon business.

As far as TAG is concerned, the studio is still a union facility and will remain so. But the long-term viability of the place will be determined by the animation marketplace and how well Film Roman can compete in it.

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