A major re-alignment is set to sweep the South Korean production sector, as leading production houses KangJegyu Films and Myung Films have been acquired by local manufacturing company Seshin Buffalo.
The companies will be re-launched as a merged entity called MK Buffalo in April.
MK Buffalo will become the first film-related company to be listed on the Korean Stock Exchange, and will have total assets valued at $97m. It has yet to be announced who will head the merged company.
Myung Films, launched in 1996 by husband and wife team Lee Eun and Shim Jae-myung, is together with Sidus Corporation the most prolific and respected production house in the industry. It is responsible for such works as The Isle (2000), Joint Security Area (2000), and A Good Lawyer's Wife (2003), and in 2001 it launched international sales company E Pictures under Paul Yi.
KangJeGyu Films, which also operates its own international sales company, is responsible for the watershed hit Shiri from 1999 and the highly anticipated Korean War film Taegukgi, set for a February 6 release.
The two companies are set to give up their former brand names and co-operate closely after the merger. Both have been valued at $9.5m, and the companies' founders Kang Je-gyu, Lee Eun and Shim Jae-myung will hold 10.8%, 9.94% and 6.54% of MK Buffalo's stock respectively.
A spokesman for Myung Film noted, "To make best use of our relative strengths in development, production and marketing, both KangJeGyu Film and Myung Films will integrate personnel and engage in joint development of future projects."
Seshin Buffalo joins a string of other non-film related Korean corporations who have formed partnerships in the film industry. Just last week, security firm SecuriCorp acquired rival production house Sidus Corporation for $3.4m plus assumed debt.
Headed by CEO Kim Moon-hak, Seshin Buffalo specializes in manufacturing hand tools and automotive accessories.