It was a muddy picture at Intermedia parent International Media in the New Year as news, some authorised, some not, trickled out of the independent giant - in one of its most tumultuous periods of growth since floating on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt in May 1999.
Co-chairman Moritz Bormann travelled between Los Angeles and Germany closing a deal to buy 100% of Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) while speculation about negotiations to acquire Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum's Spyglass Entertainment surfaced in the Hollywood press.
Screendaily.com reported in the closing days of 2001 that Bormann's co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair were stepping down from their positions, the latter believed to be negotiating a production deal with Intermedia. Should the two veterans choose to sell their shares - around 25% of the company - they could bag up to $60m each before any deductions.
Meanwhile, the company made its first deal announcement of the New Year this week - the sale of most international rights to its epic sci-fi actioner Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines to Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI).
What will emerge from such frenzied activity is as yet unclear and a company spokesperson wasn't returning calls at press time, although the IEG and Spyglass deals will clearly boost the value of the company on the Neuer Markt, bringing library titles such as The Sixth Sense and Traffic and a wealth of talent relationships into the company.
The new moves also complete the shift of the company from a European/US axis to a Hollywood powerbase. With Jon Gumpert - formerly executive vice president of Universal Pictures, now vice chairman and former BVI executive Jere Hausfater, president of worldwide distributions and acquisitions, in charge of worldwide distribution, having moved the sales operation from London to LA, the arrival of Birnbaum and Barber as well as LA-based Brit King creates a pool of seasoned and well-connected LA executives and producers. That's not to mention the arrival of additional international financing expertise in the shape of Barber and King.
IEG will operate as an autonomous label within the InternationalMedia fold alongside Intermedia and possibly Spyglass. Spyglass cut a five-year co-financing deal with The Walt Disney Studios in August 1998 and has a concurrent arrangement with Kirch Media for continental European rights. How distribution of its films will be handled after these expire is unclear, but Intermedia could offer an alternative - the Disney deal was struck with Joe Roth before he left the studio and the Kirch deal has been hampered by changes within Kirch's film financing arm.
Through all this news and speculation, Intermedia's share price has shown remarkable resilience on the Neuer Markt. Since early November the stock has traded in a tight Euros 23- Euros 25 range and closed earlier this week at Euros 23.43