Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment ( LGF-A -1.08% )( LGF-B 0.22% ) are soaring this fine Friday afternoon. The content-production studio's A shares jumped as much as 17.6% higher before settling down to a 12% gain as of 2:42 p.m. EDT.
The company's Class B shares experienced a slightly muted boost, topping out 14.6% higher and retreating to 9.9%. Lions Gate's leap was triggered when tech site The Information said that the company had turned down a generous offer for its Starz property.
According to The Information, CBS ( VIAC -4.12% ) floated an informal offer of $5 billion for the Starz network, but Lions Gate wanted a higher price. CBS is still interested, says the site's anonymous insider sources, and an actual deal might still be in the cards.
CBS is reportedly also ready to buy back all of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA) ( VIAB ), which it spun off in 2005. In general, activist investors have been pushing CBS toward making some big, splashy content production deals, and Starz would certainly fit under that banner. However, Starz is also Lions Gate's crown jewel these days, serving as the company's platform for international growth.
It takes a lot of confidence in the Starz property to turn down a purported $5 billion offer when Lions Gate's two stock classes add up to a market cap of just $6.3 billion. Expect more drama to unfold around this story, especially when Lions Gate reports fourth-quarter earnings next Thursday.