Further changes are afoot in the German world sales scene after the decision by the film financing and fund management group Entertainment Value Associates (EVA) to acquire a majority interest in the Munich-based family-run sales company Atlas International Film through its subsidiary EVA Finance.

The sales outfit with a catalogue of more than 500 titles will now be managed by the two sons of the company founder Dieter Menz, Stefan and Philipp Menz, together with EVA managing director Kai Grueneke.

Speaking of the deal with Atlas which will continue to operate under its old name, EVA's Grueneke described the sales company as 'an ideal partner' with 'over 40 years of experience in sales and its excellent connections to film buyers as well as producers and actors worldwide'.

He pointed out that the merger would create 'the best prerequisites' for for a more effective exploitation of the rights of twelve film funds managed by EVA such as Vif and MBP.

According to Dieter Menz, whose company celebrated its 40th anniversary in the world sales business this year, the partnership with EVA will strengthen Atlas's position in the market and prepare it for future challenges.

'Given the development and consolidation of the global markets, this merger is a correct and strategically important step,' Menz observed.

Both partners stressed that Atlas International Film would continue operating in international sales in the fields of fiction, non-fiction and event in all classical as well as new distribution channels, but also extend its rights portfolio in the next two years by the acquisition and distribution of new attractive exploitation rights.

In this connection, EVA revealed that it had 'already secured a substantial financial cushion from American financial investors for this planned growth.'

EVA and Atlas will already have a joint presence at the MIPCOM and AFM markets in October and November, and the partners will 'have surprises in store with our commitment in new international productions' at these events, according to Grueneke.

Over the past 40 years, Atlas has handled films as diverse as Paul Verhoeven's controversial Turkish Delight, Andrzej Wajda's The Lost Army, Soenke Wortmann's hit comedy Maybe..., Maybe Not (Der Bewegte Mann), Wes Craven's Last House On The Left, the animation hit Werner Beinhart, Marc Rothemund's Ants In The Pants and Doris Doerrie's Am I Beautiful'

Earlier this year, EVA's co-shareholder Odeon Film acquired a majority stake in the film & TV production company Hofmann & Voges Entertainment and launched Hanover-based Waterfall Productions with producers Peter Rommel and Thomas Häberle to specialise in the production of quality genre feature films with budgets between $3-5m (Euros 2.5-3.5m) for the international market.