SANTA MONICA, Calif., VANCOUVER, British Columbia, and LONDON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) Toronto, the premier independent filmed entertainment production and distribution studio, has acquired Redbus Film Distribution Limited, a leading independent UK film distributor, in a combined cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $35 million. The announcement was made today by Lions Gate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Redbus co-founder and CEO Simon Franks.
Lions Gate will now have the ability to self-distribute its motion pictures in the UK, one of the largest international territories outside North America. Lions Gate has also acquired Redbus' library of rights to over 130 films, including the internationally-acclaimed blockbuster BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, JEEPERS CREEPERS, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES and THE GIFT.
Redbus' upcoming slate in the UK includes: the critically-acclaimed Venice Film Festival opener GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, directed by George Clooney and starring David Strathairn, Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson and Jeff Daniels, to be released in the UK in February 2006; THE WICKER MAN, a remake of the 1973 thriller written and directed by Neil LaBute, starring Nicolas Cage, slated for September 2006 UK distribution; Bruce Beresford's THE CONTRACT, starring John Cusack and Morgan Freeman; Michael Winterbottom's TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY; and Alex Gibney's acclaimed documentary ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM.
As part of the transaction, Lions Gate has signed long-term contracts with Redbus cofounder Franks, distribution president Zygi Kamasa and head of theatrical distribution Chris Bailey to run the day-to-day UK operations on an entrepreneurial basis consistent with the Lions Gate and Redbus business models.
"The acquisition of Redbus is consistent with our commitment to make accretive, strategic transactions to accelerate our growth and enhance margins in our core businesses," said Feltheimer. "We are acquiring a company with a strong distribution infrastructure, a valuable library and a gifted, experienced and highly entrepreneurial senior management team. With the addition of our theatrical product, catalog and the other resources we will provide, we intend to mirror in the U.K. the successful growth strategy we have executed in North America."
Lions Gate noted that it will continue to explore additional international business opportunities, including undervalued and potentially accretive library acquisitions. The Company also noted that, beginning in early 2006, it will begin distributing a significant portion of its own library in the U.K., including such titles as DIRTY DANCING and THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
"We are very excited to become part of the Lions Gate team and view this transaction as a superb opportunity to take our business to the next level of growth," said Franks. "The deal is a logical evolution of our longstanding relationship with Lions Gate, and their powerful theatrical pipeline, track record of successful acquisitions and dynamic, entrepreneurial culture are a superb fit for Redbus. We believe that we are well positioned to deliver revenue and earnings growth to Lions Gate."
"I look forward to working with Simon, Zygi, Chris and their team," said Lions Gate International President Nick Meyer. "The Redbus transaction expands our array of resources for maximizing the value of Lions Gate content internationally and extends our control over the success of our product pipeline. The acquisition comes at a time when the international market is poised for additional growth in several key media sectors, including home entertainment, television and digital distribution."
Redbus has recently distributed such Lions Gate hits as OPEN WATER and CABIN FEVER in the UK and is already set to distribute RIZE and the upcoming Lions Gate releases HARD CANDY and CATACOMBS in coming months.
Lions Gate is the premier independent producer and distributor of motion picture, television, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library is one of the largest in the entertainment industry. The Lions Gate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality product in markets around the globe.
Redbus is one of the premier independent distributors in the UK. Founded in 1998 by former JP Morgan and Banque Paribas investment banker Simon Franks and Zygi Kamasa, Redbus has been profitable since its inception. Redbus has established a track record of acquiring and distributing critically acclaimed and commercially successful, profitable feature films. Redbus distributes directly both theatrically and on video, and it has established strong relationships with all major UK television buyers, including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and BSkyB. Redbus has ranked among the top 10 fastest-growing companies in the UK for the past two years, according to the SUNDAY TIMES FAST TRACK 100.
Redbus' parent company is Redbus Group, a privately-owned UK-based media group. Simon Franks is its founder and Chairman. Redbus Group was advised by Allen & Company LLC in connection with the transaction.
The matters discussed in this press release include forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. When used in this press release, the words "will," "plan," "continue," "intends," "believe," "poised" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Actual results in the future could differ materially and adversely from those described in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including risk factors set forth in Lion Gate's 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 29, 2005. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect any future events or circumstances.
Source: Lions Gate Entertainment
Web site: http://www.lgf.com/