Lions Gate in advanced talks to buy premium television network Starz

US film studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, is in advanced talks to buy premium television network Starz, Bloomberg today reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

A cash and stock deal, which would value Starz at more than $30 per share, could be announced in the next few days, the report said.

Starz stock price closed at $28.25 Wednesday, giving the company a market value of about $2.8 billion.

The two companies had held on and off talks for more than a year, but the deal was held up over disagreements on price and voting shares, the report added.

Bloomberg reported that a major sticking point in negotiations over completing a deal is the current value of Starz prior to it reaches a new distribution to stay on DirecTV - the TV division of AT&T

Starz was spun off from Malone's Liberty Media Corp in 2013.

Lions Gate and Liberty Global's John Malone own shares in Starz, while Malone is also a shareholder in Lions Gate.

California-based Starz TV channels have 24 million subscribers, while its Starz Encore channels have 32.4 million subscribers.

It recently launched a standalone streaming video app to allow customers to purchase its programming without a cable TV subscription.

Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales.

Led by The Hunger Games and Twilight young adult franchises, it has emerging young adult brands like Divergent and Ender's Game.

Lionsgate's television business includes more than 30 shows on 20 different networks, including such iconic brands as Mad Men, Weeds and Nurse Jackie and emerging hits such as Anger Management, Nashville and Orange is the New Black. 

Lionsgate's motion picture and television library includes more than 15,000 titles, and its $1 billion-a-year home entertainment business.