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Deluxe buys most of production services company Ascent Media

November 24, 2010 |  6:26 pm

In a further sign of consolidation of Hollywood's post-production business, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to acquire the bulk of Ascent Media Group, the Santa Monica-based postproduction company, for $68 million.

A subsidiary of billionaire investor Ron Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., Hollywood-based Deluxe is the world's largest processor of film and Blu-ray authoring services. Ascent, which provides services that help studios and distributors store, manage and distribute content, is part of Englewood, Colo.-based Ascent Media Corp., and controlled by cable pioneer John Malone.

The acquisition includes Ascent's facilities in Burbank, Hollywoood and Santa Monica that employ 1,800, as well as operations in the U.K. Ascent%20Media%20Logo

Ascent said it would retain its content distribution business, which includes providing satellite transmission services to broadcasters and networks.

Deluxe, with operations in North America, Europe and Australia, wanted to buy Ascent in order to offer a wider range of services, people familiar with the deal said. Deluxe mostly caters to the feature film industry, and Ascent is known for its work in television and commercials. The company's services include providing color correction and editing and visual effects on a variety of television shows, such as "House" and "Big Love."

Ascent Media was formely part of Discovery Communications until it was spun off as a separate company in 2008. Its holding company posted a net loss of $6.2 million on revenue of $204 million for the six months ending June 30, narrowed from a net loss of $13.7 million on revenue of $230 million for the same period a year earlier.

Ascent Media Chief Executive William Fitzgerald attributed the losses in its most recent statement to "uncertainty about the timing and pace of economic recovery that has led to ongoing volatility in the media marketplace."

-- Richard Verrier