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by Indiewire
June 7, 2004 2:00 AM
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ContentFilm Pursues Further Expansion with Deal for First Look Media

ContentFilm Pursues Further Expansion with Deal for First Look Media

by Eugene Hernandez



ContentFilm chair Edward R. Pressman (left) and president John Schmidt (seated). Courtesy of ContentFilm


Executives from ContentFilm have announced that they are pursuing a deal to acquire First Look Media. First Look, the video & DVD distributor and sales company, maintains a library of more than 350 titles and has recently been revitalized with new leadership. ContentFilm said Friday in a statement that they are negotiating with the board and major shareholders of First Look, adding that any deal would still have to be approved by their shareholders and is contingent upon agreeing to deal points an performing due diligence.

"In March, when ContentFilm came to the London market through the merger with Winchester Entertainment, we highlighted to shareholders that the potential of the new group would be maximized through further strategic transactions, especially in the area of international film distribution and film libraries," explained ContentFilm chiefs John Schmidt and Ed Pressman. "This combination is precisely the kind of deal we have been looking for, and we are delighted that First Look could be joining the group so early in our history."

ContentFilm said Friday that the deal, involving the assumption of $12 million of First Look debt by ContentFilm, would more than double Content's revenue and international operations.

"There are limited points of entry into the North American video business and First Look has built a significant business in this sector which is poised for further growth," said Schmidt and Pressman in their joint statement. "Additionally, First Look's library brings critical mass to our worldwide sales operation and existing library and a steady source of earnings and cash flow. Chris Cooney and Bill Lischak have done a great job of bringing First Look to its present state of stable revenue and positive cash flow and we look forward to the opportunity of working with them to build both companies' success from here."



Bill Lischak, president of First Look Media. Image provided by First Look Media.


Bill Lischak joined First Look Media as its president nearly a year ago, appointed by CEO Chris Cooney following Robbie Little's decision to leave day-to-day duties at the company. Late last year, First Look's MJ Peckos and Bob Myerson left the company to form Dada Films.

"We have made changes to the structure primarily to adjust to a changed marketplace and to return the company to being a profitable, competitive and important player in the independent sector," Lischak told indieWIRE back in February, as the company re-established a public profile ahead of the American Film Market. "The marketplace changes most dramatically related to the downturn in television revenues worldwide. We needed to shift our product from being television dependent to being better suited for the burgeoning video/DVD marketplace worldwide."

In Cannes last month, First Look announced that it will release Christian Johnston's "September Tapes" with THINKFilm and open John Irvin's "Boys and Girl from County Clare" via Samuel Goldwyn. The company also signed deals for a number of films in pre-production. First Look's library includes "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip," "Titus," "Chopper," "The Secret of Roan Inish," and "Ratcatcher."

In December of last year, ContentFilm announced its acquisition of the publicly-listed Winchester Entertainment, a production, distribution, and financing company in London and in 2002, Content formed an international sales division based in London. ContentFilm productions include "The Cooler," "Wendigo," "Never Die Alone," and David Gordon Green's forthcoming "The Undertow."

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