Lions Gate Entertainment and Summit Entertainment are back in merger talks that would combine two of Hollywood's largest independent studios, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations who are not authorized to speak publicly.
Should a deal be consummated, it would bring together one of the movie industry's most successful young adult franchises, Summit's "Twilight," with one of the most highly anticipated new series, "The Hunger Games," from Lions Gate.
The two companies, headquartered around the block from each other in Santa Monica, have held on-and-off merger talks since late 2008 but were unable to resolve key issues of price and management control. The discussions have recently become more serious, the people close to the matter said.
Publicly traded Lions Gate, which has a market value of $1.08 billion, would have a larger stake in the combined entity. However, it's not clear exactly how privately held Summit, which raised $750 million of debt in March, would be valued and whether Lions Gate would pay cash or stock. Another question is what role Summit's co-chairmen, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, would play in the combined entity, which would be led by Lions Gate Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer.