Lionsgate is near a deal to buy Starz, uniting the film studio behind "The Hunger Games" with the premium cable home of the "Outlander" television series, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.
Any takeover would come at a premium to Starz's Wednesday closing stock price of $28.25, which valued the channel operator at about $2.8 billion. Lionsgate closed on Wednesday with a market value of $3 billion.
A deal could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Many details were being ironed out, and the talks could still falter.
If an agreement is reached, it would be the end of a long road for Starz, which has been the subject of merger speculation for three years, since being spun off from the Liberty Media empire controlled by the billionaire John C. Malone.