Civilian Content, owner of UK National Lottery studio franchise The Film Consortium, is continuing talks about raising its stake in international sales outfit The Sales Co, despite last week's resignation of highly-regarded Sales Co chief executive Alison Thompson.
While Thompson's departure to join Pathe's London arm will no doubt lower the sales operation's value, Civilian managing director Richard Holmes said he is "still keen to develop the future of The Sales Co". Civilian has long aimed to establish an overseas sales outlet for its network of affiliated producers, while Sales Co's library of about 50 titles includes such films as The Crying Game.
Negotiations to raise Civilian's investment in Sales Co, possibly taking a majority stake, were triggered when the media outfit took over The Film Consortium in January. The studio franchise has a 25% holding in the company alongside BBC Worldwide, British Screen Finance and Zenith.
Although Civilian is expected to press for a lower price, news of Thompson's departure comes at a particularly awkward time for the franchise, which is undergoing its mid-term review by UK film superbody The Film Council. Complicating the review process is that video company VCI, which previously provided theatrical p&a costs for the consortium, has not renewed its deal.
Nevertheless, the consortium recently invested in its highest-budget production to date, the $28m 51st State. The action comedy bankrolled by Canada's Alliance Atlantis and the UK's Momentum Pictures has Momentum handling UK distribution.
Thompson, who has headed the Sales Co for four years, will be responsible for selling all Pathe's English-language films. Titles on her debut slate will include Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, starring Johnny Depp.