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October 28, 2003 2:00 AM
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Lions Gate and Artisan Confirm Merger Plans

Lions Gate and Artisan Confirm Merger Plans

by Eugene Hernandez








Consolidating two mini-major independent film companies, Lions Gate Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment announced their anticipated merger plans on Monday. Under the deal, Artisan will be merged into Lions Gate for a $160 million purchase price that includes the assumption of Artisan debt.

"Lions Gate and Artisan have complementary strengths and are a superb strategic fit," said Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer in a prepared statement. "Together, the combined entity will be a powerful force in all aspects of filmed entertainment production and distribution and will benefit from the largest library in the history of independent entertainment.

Artisan chief is expected to leave the company as part of the pact and trade reports have speculated that a number of job losses will be felt as the two companies are merged.

"Amir and his team have built a great company with a healthy balance sheet and a strong presence in motion pictures, home entertainment and family entertainment," added Feltheimer in his statement, "Providing us with great opportunities for achieving economies of scale and extending our brand equity."

Artisan's titles include "The Blair Witch Project," as well as a library of nearly 7,000 movies. Its catalog includes "Reservoir Dogs," "Terminator 2," "Requiem for a Dream," "It's a Wonderful Life," and a number of family films.

Lions Gate expects to close the deal by the end of this year.

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