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Miramax expansion plans revealed by failed Summit bid

January 17, 2012 |  6:40 am

Miramax co-owner Colony Capital may not have ended up buying Summit Entertainment, but its effort demonstrates that the private equity fund has big plans for the film library it bought from Walt Disney Co.
Miramax co-owner Colony Capital may not have ended up buying Summit Entertainment, but its effort demonstrates that the private equity fund has big plans for the film library it bought from Walt Disney Co. last year.

If it had succeeded in acquiring Summit, Colony had planned to merge it with Miramax, creating a studio with a library of 700 classic specialty titles, the "Twilight" franchise, a robust foreign sales operation and the ability to produce and distribute its own pictures, according to a knowledgeable person not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Colony, working with the Qatari Investment Authority and other partners, was one of two final bidders for Summit, but ended up pulling out in late 2011 as Lions Gate began to finalize the agreement that closed last Friday.

The strong push for Summit shows that Miramax's owners want to build their own full-service studio, the knowledgeable person confirmed. Don't be surprised to see Colony and its partners go after another similar acquisition, or invest in Miramax to create those capabilities, the source said.

Not that Miramax has fared poorly as a library management company since it was sold by Disney in late 2010 to a consortium including Colony, the Qatari Investment Authority and billionaire Ron Tutor. Financial data shared by Miramax Chairman and Colony partner Richard Nanula in December shows the company has added $325 million of contracted cash flow since it went independent, including $190 million from deals with digital distributors including Netflix and Hulu and $120 million from new DVD and Blu-ray deals.

As television deals put in place by Disney before the sale expire over the next decade, Miramax will also have the ability to generate new revenue from TV distribution.

The company's improved financial situation allowed it to issue debt in a $500-million recapitalization this fall that, Nanula said, has already returned the majority of the new Miramax owners' invested capital.

RELATED:

Summit investors considered major expansion before selling

Lions Gate acquires Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million

Miramax purchase puts Colony Capital in Hollywood spotlight

-- Ben Fritz

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment

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