Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. executives on Wednesday called the company's proposed merger with struggling Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" that would cut costs as it neatly melds complementary operations.

"A Lions Gate merger with MGM is a natural fit that would bring together two of the most powerful libraries in the world, create significant cost savings, consolidate our mutual global channel operations and generate significant incremental revenue and cash flow," Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the company proposed combining with MGM, which owns rights to "The Hobbit" and future and past James Bond movies, to form a company that would be 45 percent owned by Lions Gate shareholders and 55 percent by MGM's creditors, according to a person familiar with the proposal. The offer valued MGM at $1.8 billion, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the offer was not meant to be public.

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