Berlin 2012: German Studio MMC Up For Sale (Exclusive)

 Liam Daniel/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

BERLIN -- Magic Media Company, the group that manages the MMC studios in Cologne, has been put on the auction block, with a sale expected by this summer.

With more than 215,000 square feet of soundstage space, MMC is one of the largest studio complexes in Europe. Recent feature projects shot there include David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and the upcoming Mr Morgan’s Last Love starring Michael Caine.

Rumors that MMC was to be put on the block have been circulating for months. The current owner, a division of a Cologne-based bank, is being forced to sell off the company following a ruling to that effect from the European Commission. That ruling, however, specifies that the new owner cannot just fold up the company and sell its assets, but must take a long-term view to MMC, which employs some 100 people and boasts a turnover of some $53 million (€40 million) a year. 

The bulk of the studio’s business, however, is television. MMC has long-running contracts for some of Germany’s biggest shows, including several soaps and the local versions of Pop Idol and Got Talent. Those contracts will remain in place after the sale.

What is less certain is whether the new owner will enjoy the same rental conditions for MMC’s studio space, which is owned by a real estate fund in much-publicized financial trouble. 

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