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Lions Gate Entertainment Q3 Loss Narrows, But Misses View; Shares Down 4%

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Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF: Quote) reported a loss for the third quarter that narrowed from last year, reflecting improved equity interests income, partially offset by a drop in quarterly revenues. The company's shares were down nearly 4 percent in extended trading after its results for the quarter missed analysts' expectations.

"We had no wide theatrical releases in the quarter, but we received solid contributions from our other operating divisions and another strong performance by EPIX. We're very excited about the opportunities created by our recent acquisition of Summit Entertainment," CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.

The Santa Monica, California-based entertainment company reported a net loss of $1.74 million or $0.01 per share for the third quarter, narrower than $6.02 million or $0.04 per share in the prior-year quarter.

On average, nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.09 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimate typically excludes one-time items.

Revenues for the quarter declined to $323.03 million from $422.91 million in the same quarter last year, and missed nine Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $358.78 million.

The revenue drop mainly reflected the absence of wide theatrical releases in the quarter, compared to three wide theatrical releases in the prior-year quarter. The prior year also included the home entertainment release of the hit theatrical title The Expendables, one of the company's highest-grossing films.

The company had a equity interests income of $3.82 million for the quarter, compared to an equity interests loss of $13.14 million in the year-ago quarter.

Lionsgate's motion picture revenues decreased 29 percent to $233.33 million, with primarily home entertainment revenue dropping 28.8 percent. International motion picture revenue declined 31.8 percent and Lionsgate U.K revenue dropping 44.7 percent from last year.

Television production revenue declined 7 percent to $89.70 million, with total domestic series licensing dropping 25.8 percent, while revenues from home entertainment releases of television production doubled.

Shortly after the close of the quarter on January 13, Lionsgate completed the acquisition of Summit Entertainment for a combination of cash and stock valued at $412.5 million. The noted that the first financial results of the combined entity will be reported in its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2011.

"The February 11 home entertainment release of Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 1, the March 23 theatrical release of Hunger Games and the November 16 theatrical release of Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 lead a strong combined slate that we believe will enable us to deliver increased consistency, profitability and value to our shareholders," Feltheimer added.

LGF closed Thursday's regular trading session at $11.01, up $0.06 or 0.55% on a volume of 1.91 million shares, higher than the three-month average volume of 0.80 million shares. However, the stock lost $0.41 or 3.72% in after-hours trading.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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