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Mutant X Articles: 4/30/05 ContentFilm buys Fireworks library

Hollywood Reporter 4/30/05

ContentFilm lands library from CanWest: CanWest library sale
Etan Vlessing April 30, 2005

TORONTO -- Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. has reached an agreement for ContentFilm International Ltd. to buy its international film and TV program library for $29 million. The Fireworks' library includes such TV series as "Zoe Busiek," "Wildcard," "Andromeda" and "Mutant X" and such theatrical features as "Rat Race," "Hard Ball" and "Rules of Engagement."

The assets have been recorded as a discontinued operation since Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CanWest Global in April 2004 shuttered its Fireworks Entertainment production arm and took a CAN$200 million write-down on its film and TV library.

CanWest Global initially acquired a controlling stake in Fireworks in 1998 for CAN$40 million ($32 million) and invested heavily in productions developed and produced by Fireworks founder and CEO Jay Firestone, a former executive at Alliance Communications Corp. But Fireworks struggled when international markets for its slate of sci-fi and action series began weakening.

In a statement Friday, CanWest Global said it will not gain or lose on the deal with London-based ContentFilm, which is expected to close around June 15, pending ContentFilm shareholder approval.

Sales and distribution employees at CanWest Entertainment International Distribution, a division of CanWest Global, will be offered jobs by ContentFilm.

© Hollywood Reporter

Variety 7/21/05

ContentFilm caps Fireworks sale

LONDON -- ContentFilm has sealed its acquisition of the Fireworks library and TV sales operation for a reduced price of $21.5 million.

The deal was announced in late April at $29 million. But that was always subject to adjustment according to how much cash the seller, CanWest, generated from the library between Feb. 28 and now.

John Schmidt, chief exec of ContentFilm, said the steep price cut reflects the perf of Fireworks Intl. prexy Greg Phillips and his sales team in the past five months.

Schmidt pointed out that Fireworks also has contractual receivables of $17 million. "This means we've acquired a library of 280 TV programs and films for a net cost of under $5 million," he said.

Fireworks Intl., based in Dublin and Los Angeles, will continue to trade under Phillips as a subsid of Content.

It will be responsible for the sale of TV programs and TV rights to its film library, while ContentFilm Intl., based in London, will continue to handle the financing and sale of new feature films under managing director Jamie Carmichael.

The Fireworks library includes TV shows "Andromeda" and "Mutant X," as well as features "Rat Race," "Hard Ball" and "Rules of Engagement."

The acquisition of Fireworks is a further stage in the redefinition of ContentFilm as a sales and financing company across film and TV, following its decision to withdraw from film production and U.K. theatrical distribution earlier this year.

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