Lions Gate Entertainment hasacquired the UK's Redbus Film Distribution in a combined cash and stocktransaction valued at approximately $35m.
The move gives theburgeoning US independent studio a vital distribution outlet in the UK, one ofthe leading markets outside North America, and brings in a library of more than130 titles including Bend It Like Beckham, Jeepers Creepers and The Mothman Prophecies.
Under the terms of the deal,Lions Gate has signed long-term contracts with Redbus co-founder and chiefexecutive officer Simon Franks, distribution president Zygi Kamasa and head oftheatrical distribution Chris Bailey to run the day-to-day UK operations.
"The acquisition of Redbusis consistent with our commitment to make accretive, strategic transactions toaccelerate our growth and enhance margins in our core businesses," Lions Gatechief executive officer Jon Feltheimer said.
"We are acquiring a companywith a strong distribution infrastructure, a valuable library and a gifted,experienced and highly entrepreneurial senior management team.
"With the addition of ourtheatrical product, catalogue and the other resources we will provide, weintend to mirror in the UK the successful growth strategy we have executed inNorth America."
"We are very excited to becomepart of the Lions Gate team and view this transaction as a superb opportunityto take our business to the next level of growth," Franks added.
"The deal is a logicalevolution of our longstanding relationship with Lions Gate, and their powerfultheatrical pipeline, track record of successful acquisitions and dynamic,entrepreneurial culture are a superb fit for Redbus. We believe that we arewell positioned to deliver revenue and earnings growth to Lions Gate."
Redbus' upcoming slateincludes George Clooney's probable Academy Awards contender Good Night, AndGood Luck, Neil LaBute's remake of TheWicker Man, Michael Winterbottom'scomedy Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story, Alex Gibney's documentary Enron: The SmartestGuys In The Room, and Bruce Beresford'sthriller The Contract.
Redbus has acquired severalLions Gate titles in the past including hit titles Open Water and Cabin Fever in the UK, with Sundance hits Rize, Hard Candy and the horror title Catacombs in the pipeline.
Lions Gate will continue toexplore international business opportunities. Beginning in early 2006, it willbegin distributing a significant portion of its own library in the UK,including such titles as Dirty Dancing and The Princess Bride.
"I look forward to workingwith Simon, Zygi, Chris and their team," Lions Gate International chief NickMeyer said. "The Redbus transaction expands our array of resources formaximising the value of Lions Gate content internationally and extends ourcontrol over the success of our product pipeline.
"The acquisition comes at atime when the international market is poised for additional growth in severalkey media sectors, including home entertainment, television and digitaldistribution."
Redbus was founded in 1998by Franks, a former JP Morgan and Banque Paribas investment banker, along withand Kamasa, For the past two years it has ranked among the top 10fastest-growing UK companies on The Sunday Times Fast Track 100.