Universal Studios is set to benefit from a private media fund being prepared by Munich-based Hannover Leasing with a fund volume of up to Euros 250m.

If all goes according to schedule, the fund will be brought onto the market at the end of August, inviting private individuals to invest a minimum of Euros 25,000 to finance the production and marketing of two-to-four films which will be globally distributed by Universal Studios. The investors will pay in 50% of the deposit with the remainder financed by a bearer bond issued by Helaba Irish Branch Dublin.

The new fund marks Hannover Leasing's third venture with a Hollywood studio: in 2001, over Euros 360m were raised in seven separate production funds on behalf of 20th Century Fox to finance the production of films such as Shallow Hal, Unfaithful, Joe Somebody and Life As A House. In 2000, $150m was placed for New Line Cinema for the third part of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Return Of The King.

Hannover Leasing, which raised Euros 215.2m private equity in 2002 according to fund specialist Vendura, had intended to work with Universal on setting up a film fund in autumn 1999. But it cried off at the last minute because of uncertainty about the future of film funds under new tax legislation at the time (ScreenDaily.com, October 23, 2000).