Rapidly-expanding German video and DVD distributor E-M-S New Media has secured a flow of top-flight US and European product by acquiring a 24.7% stake in film licence trader Advanced Medien, with an option to buy an additional 13%.
The Neuer Markt-listed company said the deal would allow it to secure commercially interesting licences at an early stage, taking advantage of Advanced's 51% stake in LA-based production and sales outfit Unified Film Organization (U.F.O.) and a joint producing venture with LA-based German director Wolfgang Petersen, Red Cliff Productions.
Advanced also has a 40% stake in German sales agent Europool, owned by Germany's public broadcasters, which plans to be involved in financing 26 features with average budgets of $45m by 2004. It also has output agreements with US producers Chuck Gordon and Davis Panzer and the UK's Granada and Natural Nylon.
Advanced has already supplied E-M-S with video and DVD product. In June, E-M-S acquired a package of Austrian and Swiss DVD rights from Advanced, headed by Oskar Roehler's Die Unberuehrbare. Meanwhile, former Advanced board member Hanns-Arndt Jovy recently joined E-M-S as a consultant to advise on the company's expansion into licence trading and production (ScreenDaily, November 27).
Advanced recently posted a 62% increase in sales to $24.2m (DM55.1m) for the first three quarters of 2000, but recorded a negative EBIT of $1.5m (DM3.4m) for the period, which it blamed on the combination of a weak Euro, significant investments in new US ventures and the costs of current film productions by UFO. During trading today (Dec 12) its share price decreased 3.85% to Euros2.50.