Jerry Payne and Marcus Schoefer of the Kinowelt management buyout (MBO) team anticipate their takeover plans will be a done deal by the middle of next week and are looking to be back in the rights acquisition business in time for this autumn's film markets.

Payne told that he and Schoefer now felt "far enough down the line" to tell more about their plans for the proposed holding company Neue Kinowelt Medien GmbH which will have a third, as yet unnamed, managing director appointed to handle the new company's financial affairs.

While both Payne and Schoefer will both have overall responsibility for the company's operations, Payne will also be more "hands on" in the areas of home entertainment and acquisitions, while Schoefer will concentrate on legal affairs.

Payne asserted that, contrary to reports in the German press, the Essen-based E.A.T. Group was not involved in the MBO, although it was in the running "for a time" as a potential backer before they parted company "because we didn't want the banks to get the wrong idea".

In the meantime, the Belgian holding company Summa will now be the sole investor, financing the MBO's Euros 27.5m bid to take over Kinowelt's core operations of theatrical distribution, home entertainment, and TV licensing.

Payne explained that he had been "acquiring [rights] in a modest fashion only for video" to keep a flow of new product and is now "holding negotiations with financial institutions on a film finance package so that we can start acquiring rights at the markets in the autumn".

Neue Kinowelt's theatrical arm plans to collaborate with ex-Kinowelt Filmverleih managing director Peter Heinzemann's Solo Film Verleih "at the beginning of our theatrical activities", although the new company will also have the freedom to deal with other distributors. Movienet, for example, will serve on an agency basis for the release of Argentinian director Fabian Bielinsky's Nine Queens.

According to Payne, the takeover plan envisages the retention of a workforce of 65-70 people at the Munich headquarters in the various units of the Neue Kinowelt holding company. "We will be taking over all of the critical people, especially in acquisition and sales such as Jochen Hesse and Daniel Guckau", Payne declared.