The Weinstein Company (TWC)has formed a new US DVD releasing venture with home entertainment productionand distribution outfit Genius Products.
Under the terms of the dealGenius will raise $32m in equity funding to finance the new entity, which willrelease on DVD all feature and direct-to-video titles controlled by thebrothers, as well as Genius' existing home video distribution operationsincluding the Wellspring Media library.
The move gives Harvey andBob Weinstein a 70% controlling interest in the venture without having to spenda single penny. In return Genius acquires all US home entertainmentdistribution rights to the TWC slate.
Genius Products anticipatesthat beginning in March 2006 the new venture will release on DVD approximately20 theatrical films and a "significant number" of direct-to-video and librarytitles each year from TWC.
Titles acquired under thepreviously announced distribution deal between TWC and Rainbow Media Holdingswill also be included under this new agreement.
The previously announcedagreement includes films from Rainbow's theatrical arm IFC Films, and allmaterial produced by Rainbow Media's national entertainment networks.
In another coup, thebrothers have hired Warren N Lieberfarb & Associates as special consultantand liaison with Genius Products. Warren N Lieberfarb is the former head ofWarner Home Video and is regarded as the godfather of the DVD business.
TWC and Genius Products willoperate under an interim distribution agreement until the closing of theprimary transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of2006.
"This agreement fulfills ourvision to both control and deliver our content directly to retail," theWeinsteins said in a joint statement. "[Genius president and chief executiveofficer] Trevor Drinkwater has developed a premier management team that rivalsany major studio and we are thrilled to be in business with him and his team."
"The management team hasworked successfully over the past year to transform the company into asignificant player in the home entertainment business," Genius chairman StephenK Bannon said.
"This transactiondemonstrates the strategy we established along with our board and our advisor,Cappello Capital Corp, to maximize long-term shareholder value. Ourrelationship with The Weinstein Company, many months in the making, validatesboth our strategy and our team."
Drinkwater will manage theday-to-day operations of the distributor and its Weinstein Division in additionto his duties as Genius president and chief executive officer.