MGM Home Entertainment Group, the DVD and home video arm of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is to set up its own sales and marketing operations in France and Germany. The deal sees MGM exercise an option in its international distribution services agreement with Fox Filmed Entertainment to reclaim those territories. Fox, which previously managed the territories on MGM's behalf, will continue to provide physical distribution services for MGM product in those territories.

Robert Wittenberg, executive vice president, sales, for the division has added international retail development to his responsibilities, spanning all territories outside North America. He continues to oversee all facets of DVD and video sales for the division in North America, as well as serve as general manager of Latin America.

MGM's day-to-day sales and marketing operations across Europe will continue to be supervised by Bruno Carlson, executive vice president & managing director ' Europe, who is based in the company's UK office and reports directly to David Bishop, president and COO, MGM Home Entertainment Group.

"Fox continues to be a good partner in the home video business, lending quality, experience and savvy to our alliance," said Bishop in a statement. "However, the time has never been better for MGM to extend its focus to these vital territories. MGM has experienced dramatic growth in the US and UK, having in this past year alone more than doubled the industry average in DVD sales. We look forward to duplicating that success in France and Germany, as we aggressively cultivate key retail relationships and vigorously exploit MGM's unparalleled library of films."

MGM Home Entertainment manages worldwide VHS and DVD distribution rights to UA and current MGM Studios theatrical releases as well as titles from the Orion, Goldwyn and PolyGram libraries totaling approximately 4,000 films.