The management team of Millennium Entertainment, led by CEO Bill Lee, and private investment firm Virgo Investment Group have partnered to acquire the Millennium Entertainment library and distribution platform.
The group is acquiring the assets from a consortium of investors including majority shareholder Nu Image led by Avi Lerner and Trevor Short, White Horse Pictures principals Nigel Sinclair and Guy East and Prentice Capital, who are understood to have owned 20% apiece.
The company will operate under a new name. Going forward the Millennium brand will be held solely by Nu Image subsidiary Millennium Films, the production arm that is not a part of the transaction.
Lee will continue as CEO and all existing management are expected to remain in place. The company and Virgo plan to grow the platform through investments in film content, distribution growth and corporate acquisitions. Millennium Entertainment had courted buyers since it was put up for sale in April 2013.
“I’m proud of our team and thankful for our customers, clients, film production partners and bankers as we have grown the business over the last 3.5 years,” said Lee.
“This transaction creates new opportunities to further establish the company as a leading, independent distribution platform for high-quality content with a customer-centric and content curation focus.
“I am pleased to invest my own capital alongside Virgo and am confident that Virgo’s values, ideas and resources will enable us to fully realise our business aspirations of building broader relationships with producers, talent and customers.”
“We share Bill’s vision for the company and its continued growth is our priority,” said Virgo partner Mark Perez. “We believe the confluence of recent changes within the competitive landscape, expanding demand for new content, and the ongoing evolution of physical and digital consumption create an attractive market seam for innovative film distribution solutions.
“Consistent with our other asset-based investments in the media sector, we believe there is a unique opportunity to combine industry relationships and data analysis to drive enhanced returns on invested capital.
“The company’s existing catalogue provides a solid foundation of cash flows for additional investment in the business, and we are excited to partner with Bill and his team to drive value through differentiated marketing and monetization of content assets.”
Nu Image chairman Lerner and COO Short said: “We’re very pleased that Millennium Entertainment has reached this milestone. A lot of hard work from a dedicated team has built Millennium into a prominent player, which is thriving in a competitive market. As opportunities arise we hope to continue to supply movies for release through the Millennium pipeline we helped to create.”
Stephen Prough of Salem Partners advised Millennium Entertainment in the transaction and Dan Rowe of Sword, Rowe & Company advised Virgo. Schuyler Moore of Stroock was legal counsel for Virgo.
Millennium Entertainment had distributed more than 300 features since its inception in November 2010 and is preparing a day-and-date launch for Matthew Weiner’s dramedy Are You Here starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler.
Prior distribution credits include Bernie, What Maisie Knew, The Iceman and Killing Season.