$150 mil deal spurs Wild Bunch

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Paris-based Wild Bunch is launching a €110 million ($150 million) acquisition and co-production venture in partnership with U.S.-based investment firm Continental Entertainment Capital.

Wild Bunch has raised €25 million ($34 million) in equity thanks to investments from the CEC, with the balance of the additional funding provided by Iris Capital, an early stage private-equity investor in the company, as well as by Wild Bunch management.

CEC will take a minority stake in Wild Bunch and become an equal partner with the Gallic production/acquisition/sales company in an enterprise dedicated exclusively to the acquisition and co-production of feature films.

The films acquired or co- produced by the new Wild Bunch-CEC fusion will be distributed and sold worldwide by Wild Bunch.

The entity will co-exist alongside Virtual Films, a similar joint venture Wild Bunch and shareholder Virtual Studios formed in 2006.

"This capital investment is a significant milestone in the building up of Wild Bunch as an ambitious and innovative European distribution company," Wild Bunch COO Brahim Chioua said Tuesday.

Wild Bunch manages a library of about 300 films. Upcoming releases in France include the Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream" and Steven Soderbergh's "Che."

Based in Los Angeles and New York, CEC is a subsidiary of Continental Entertainment, a joint venture formed in April with Citi's principal investment arm to provide production, distribution and financing services within the entertainment community.
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