French sales and financingoutfit Wild Bunch has unveiled a new $145m joint-venture dedicated to acquiringand co-producing feature films. The joint-venture will also release the films througha new pan-European distribution network that Wild Bunch is setting up.

At the same time, Europeanmedia fund Iris Capital has increased its investment in Wild Bunch while theunnamed joint-venture partner - an American group not previously involved incinema - has also taken a stake in Wild Bunch. However, the company's foundersremain majority shareholders.

Wild Bunch principal Brahim Chioua told that the newjoint-venture would likely be set up in England or Ireland and named by the end of the year. Currently, theventure is active with some offers already out although Chiouawouldn't be led as to name the films in question.

The AFM will be the firstmarket for the outfit which will sign films via the existing Wild Bunch teamled by Vincent Maraval and Wild Bunch's Frenchdistribution subsidiary Pan-Europeenne led byJean-Philippe Tirel.

Product that is acquired bythe new venture - which will consist of big budget films of all nationalities -will be funnelled through Pan Europeenne in Franceand eventually, when the case fits, through four other distribution entitieswhich Wild Bunch is in the process of setting up in the UK, Spain, Italy andGermany.

Chioua said he believes the Spanish outfit will be thefirst to debut with Germany and Italy likely to follow suit in the next year. Although Chioua wouldn't say for sure, it seems likely that WildBunch will buy an existing Spanish company or enter into another joint-venturewhile creating a European label for the group.

US based Relativity Mediahelped structure the deal which Chioua called, "areal innovation."