The wild ride ofIntertainment Licensing CEO Rudiger "Barry" Baeres took a solemn turn onTuesday as Baeres described the collapse of his company to a jury in a SantaAna, California federal courtroom.
Testifying inIntertainment's $100m film-budget fraud lawsuit against Franchise Pictures andits CEO, Elie Samaha, Baeres recounted how he became a pariah on the NeuerMarkt and in the European investment community after he filed suit in Decemberof 2000.
After Intertainment'srelationship with its main supplier of film product imploded, "our stockcollapsed, we lost $600 to $700m [in market capitalisation]," rememberedBaeres.
"We couldn't deliver on ourlicense payments, [theatrical sub-distributors] Warner Bros. and Fox would havenothing to do with us, we lost the trust of our shareholders, our relationshipwith [German lender] Hypo Bank was hurt beyond repair, there was no morerevenue, nothing. We were untouchable," Baeres said.
Though Baeres admitted thatending the relationship with Franchise effectively destroyed his company, theonetime billionaire CEO (at least on paper) stuck to his claim undercross-examination that his deals with Samaha in 1999, including a 60-picturedeal announced at the Cannes market, had nothing to do with the rise of Intertainment'sstock price.
Franchise lawyer WilliamPrice noted that the then-German TV rights broker Intertainment had just $2.28min annual revenues in 1998, and analysts - one month before the company wentpublic on the Neuer Markt - valued its equity at $9.4m, with 70% of the valuemarked as good will.
"But on February 8, 1999,within two days of signing to distribute three Franchise films starring JohnTravolta, Bruce Willis and Kevin Spacey," said Price to Baeres, "your companywas worth $800m [in market cap] after its initial day of trading on the NeuerMarkt. And this had nothing to do with your deal with Franchise'"
"Nothing," Baeres replied.