Cecchi Gori wants do-over on library deal

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ROME -- Vittorio Cecchi Gori, head of the cash-strapped media group that bears his name, on Thursday told Italian TV reporters that he wants to reverse the auction that sold the rights to 138 of Cecchi Gori's best film titles to rival Mediaset in May, adding €65 million ($87.1 million) to the company's coffers.

It isn't clear how such a move could be carried out, and Cecchi Gori Holding officials did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.

Legal experts said that if the deal has been finalized, the only way for the company to reacquire the rights to the films would be to buy them back. But some media sources indicated that the transfer might still be at some intermediate point, meaning it could potentially be blocked.

Cecchi Gori Holding and its related companies have been battling bankruptcy for several years, but in the 1980s and '90s, the company was a leader in the Italian television and film sectors.

As a way to raise cash, Cecchi Gori sold off rights to 138 titles from a 700-film library that includes Oscar winners "Mediterraneo" and "Life Is Beautiful." The auction was expected to raise about €30 million ($40.2 million), but it took in more than double that when Mediaset outbid Telecom Italia for the rights.

The entire archive is estimated by Italian media sources to be worth more than €150 million ($201 million).
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